Artists

2000-2009

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Exhibitions

New York, Matthew Marks Gallery,Lucian Freud Etchings, 11 November–2 December 2000, illus and also cover image, another edition

Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art,Lucian Freud, 5 June-2 September 2007, illus b/w p157, another edition, touring to:

Denmark, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 28 September 2007-27 January 2008

Netherlands, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, 16 February-8 June 2008

New York, Museum of Modern Art,Lucian Freud, The Painter’s Etchings, 16 December 2007-10 March 2008, p32, plate 91, illus p121, another edition

London, National Portrait Gallery,Lucian Freud Portraits, 9 February-27 May 2012, cat no.126, illus p198, another edition

Literature

Sebastian Smee,Lucian Freud, 1996-2005, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2005, cat no.45

William Feaver,Lucian Freud, Rizzoli, New York, 2007, cat no.303, illus colour

Starr Figura,The Painter's Etchings, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008, p32, plate 91, illus p121

Cecile Debray et al., Lucian Freud, L’Atelier, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2010, exhibition catalogue, cat no.60, illus colour p217

Description

Plate: 17 1/8 x 23 1/2 inches; 44 x 60 cm Sheet: 22 1/2 x 28 1/2 inches; 57 x 72 cm ‘While human beings have been the central preoccupation in Freud’s life as an artist, there are a few other subjects to which he occasionally turns. Since the mid-1980s, dogs have been a particularly prominent aspect of his oeuvre, reflecting the affinity he has always had for animals. (Horses have also been frequent subjects of Freud’s painting, although never of an etching). Freud’s whippet Pluto appeared regularly until her death in 2003, sometimes alone, more often alongside humans, as in the oil painting Double Portrait, 1985-6,. Other dogs, most notably the whippet Eli, who belongs to Freud’s assistant David Dawson, have also been depicted. In these works, animals are fully the equals of humans, not accessories, or extensions to them. Three etchings belong to this extended group of works. In Pluto, 1988, the rhythmic cadence of limbs, both animal and human suggests the complicity that Freud senses between the species. Pluto Aged Twelve, 2000, which incorporates a hand reaching in ambiguously and perhaps ominously from the right, and Eli, 2002, one of Freud’s most breathtakingly detailed etchings, embody the combination of tenderness and strangeness that permeates all of Freud’s oeuvre. As Michael Kimmelman has observed, Freud’s work reminds us that ‘we are all animals….vulnerable and sublime to our ordinariness’. 1 Freud first made six etchings as a young artist in the 1940s, however it was not until 1982 that he began to engage fully with the medium. In 2008, when The Museum of Modern Art, New York held a comprehensive survey of the artist’s etchings, this body of work amounted to more than seventy-five examples. Many of Freud’s etchings were created either before, or in tandem with, his paintings and as such they often relate directly to his canvases. The closeness of this medium to drawing - and in particular the opportunity to use precise line to describe texture - was its particular appeal and it was the only form of printmaking Freud pursued. He would work on pre-prepared etching plates in his painting studio, developing them over a number of sittings. This allowed him to working directly from life, and in private, until they were ready to go to the printer. The element of uncertainty in the the transformation of the 'negative' image, copper coloured lines on a dark brown wax ground, to print, added an additional ‘…element of danger and mystery'... 'You don’t know how its going to come out. What’s black is white. What’s left is right.’ 2 1. Extract from Starr Figura, The Painter's Etchings, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008, p32 2. Ibid p15