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Lucian Freud Archive, Lewis Collection
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This is the true story of a man called Martin Gayford, art critic by trade, who sat for a portrait by Lucian Freud seven years ago, told by the man who sat for that portrait over hundreds of hours. It is told in the form of a diary, sitting by sitting, easily, conversationally, insightfully, with a delicate humour, often self-deprecating. The sitter worries about his own ageing, the folds beneath his chin. At one point Freud says: "If it really is like that, well, I'll use it." Gayford remarks that he never did find out what "it" was. Freud, slightly dismayingly for the sitter, relishes such exciting evidence of mortality.
Could Lucian Freud be relenting on his reclusive stance? To mark his retrospective at Paris' Pompidou Centre the famously private artist agreed to be filmed by Tim Meara. But the 15-minute short, Small Gestures in Bare Rooms, is far from the usual biographical trawl. Rather Meara has spoken to Freud's sitters and created a series of "silent portraits" based on their reminiscences. There are close-ups of Freud's old Holland Park studio, complete with iron bedstead and paint-spattered boots and shots of a sharp-eyed Freud walking along the canal in Little Venice, with a kestrel perched on his arm (he kept birds of prey in his studio in the 1940s). Meara never expected Freud to appear in the film, but the artist was glad of the chance to rediscover old haunts. "He had a really nice time. We just allowed him to have a wander by the canal," says Meara. "The kestrel meant he could forget he was being filmed." Meara aims to make it into a full feature in time for Freud's 90th birthday in 2012.
A self-portrait of Lucian Freud nursing a black eye after a punch-up with a taxi driver sold for more than £2.8 million when it went under the hammer.
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His brother Lucian was noticeably absent, but Britain's artistic and literary elite turned out in force yesterday for the funeral of Sir Clement Freud, who died last week.
Although born in Germany, Sir Clement Freud came to be regarded as an essentially English character with an idiosyncratic gift for dry wit and a talent in many other spheres of life. In his multi-faceted career, he acquired the status of a minor national treasure as he progressed through roles which included celebrity cook, dog food advertiser, politician, broadcasting personality, author and raconteur. His unique persona included the incongruity of his looks, the rarity of his smiles and the counterpoints of his slow delivery and his devastatingly quick wit.
A sun-drenched dachshund called Charlie was one of the first to enjoy an exhibition of deckchairs unveiled in London's Hyde Park yesterday, each one dreamed up by artists and celebrities including Tracey Emin and Joanna Lumley.
A life-size painting by Lucian Freud which has never been seen publicly in Britain is expected to sell for up to £18m, making it the most expensive work by a living artist at auction.