Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lucian Freud (died July 20, 2011)

Lucian Freud the renowned painter died last night at age 88. Born in Berlin, in 1922, he fled from the Nazis with his family, including his famous grandfather Sigmund Freud. He was educated in English schools, worked in England all his life, and was a naturalized English citizen. It's not clear to me if his roots in successful German and Austrian Jewish families were important in his work, which was extremely original and based in quite a few modern art ideas.

The New York Times obituary gives this biographical detail: "Mr. Freud was a bohemian of the old school. He set up his studios in squalid neighborhoods, developed a Byronic reputation as a rake and gambled recklessly ('debit stimulates me,' he once said). In 1948, he married Kitty Garman, the daughter of the sculptor Jacob Epstein." Later, he divorced his wife and had many subsequent relationships.

Of his work the Times says: "Mr. Freud’s dingy studio became his artistic universe, a grim theater in which his subjects, stripped bare and therefore unidentifiable by class, thrust into contorted positions, submitted to the artist’s unblinking, merciless inspection."

Update: Forward has an article titled: Was There Anything Jewish About Lucian Freud? Quote: "Mainly, the Jewishness of Freud’s career exemplifies modern diasporic success: acculturation, secularism, national recognition and international acclaim."

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