Thursday, December 19, 2013

The artist as monster

Large Interior, Notting Hill (1998)

Julian Barnes on Lucian Freud in the London Review of Books:

On Capri they show you the sheer cliff from which those who displeased the Emperor Tiberius were reportedly flung (though the Capresi, who call him by the softer name of Timberio, insist that the death toll was much exaggerated by muck-rakers like Suetonius). The court of Freud was similarly absolutist in its punishments: if you displeased him---by bad timekeeping, unprofessionalism, or disobedience to his will---you were tossed over the cliff. 

In the painting[above] which shows [Francis]Wyndham flaubertising in the foreground, the background originally held the figure of the model Jerry Hall breastfeeding her baby. She sat thus for several months, until one day she called in sick. When, a couple of days later, she was still unfit to pose, the enraged Freud painted over her face and inserted that of his long-time assistant David Dawson. But the baby had not caused offence, so was not painted out, with the result that a naked and strangely breasted Dawson is now seen feeding the child. Freud’s American dealer assumed the picture would be unsellable; it was bought by the first American client he showed it to...



At 10:08 AM, Anonymous sfthen said...

Question: which is worth more: a painting OF Lucian Freud worth more than a painting BY Lucian Freud?

Answer: Lucian Freud triptych


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