Art Journal Every Day: Abstract Page
100 Days of Gelatin Printing: Days 8-14

MFA Boston: Lucian Freud Self-Portraits

I have quite a few photos from museum visits that I never shared here on the blog.  I finally got around to editing some of those photos, so I'll be sharing them over the next month or two.  Rest assured, all of these photos are oldies, but goodies.  I am definitely sheltering at home at the moment!

The MFA is/was (the exhibit closes in May) hosting an exhibit of Lucian Freud's self-portraits.  Lucian Freud was an extremely respected British painter (he died in 2011) who was very well known for his portraits.  He is one of the few painters to have been invited to paint the Queen of England:

I was lucky enough to attend a lecture...

...and reception...

...for the exhibit.  The lecture featured David Dawson, who was Freud's studio assistant from 1991 until the artist's death in 2011.  It's fascinating to hear Dawson speak about Freud because he had a front row seat to so much. (You can watch a clip of Dawson speaking about Freud here.)  I was struck by how much Freud worked.  He painted all day long -- into his 80s.  He would use one model to paint in the morning and another to paint in the evening.  He barely slept. He just made work.

Dawson posited that Freud made self-portraits in times of difficulty -- for example after a break-up.  (It is interesting to note that while he had several children, he never lived with any of them.  And if they wanted to spend time with him, they had to come and pose for him in his studio.)  Dawson proposed that perhaps the reason so many of Freud's self-portraits are unfinished is because they were always about process for him.  About working through something.  Not about getting to a finished painting.

Speaking of process, Freud had a most interesting way of working.  He would create a loose overall charcoal sketch on the canvas and then begin to paint.  But he would perfect small areas of the painting -- usually starting in the middle of the face -- and keep working out.  You can really see this process in some of his unfinished works.

Did you know that Freud never allowed his self-portraits to be exhibited during his lifetime? Interesting, isn't it?

Well, enough chatting!  Let's get to the art:

I hope you enjoyed this peek.  It's obviously not everything that's in the exhibit.  I really hope the exhibit gets to stay a bit longer so more people can see it once the museum opens.  But if you ever wondered what diligent practice can do for your art, this exhibit speaks volumes.

Thanks for stopping by!