Lucian Freud Etchings from the Paine Webber Art Collection

Saturday, January 23, 1999
Sunday, March 21, 1999

One of the greatest realist painters of the late twentieth century, Lucian Freud (1922-2011) began as an etcher briefly in the 1940s but did not continue in the medium until the mid-1980s. The initial impetus for his return to etching was the publication in 1982 of Lawrence Gowing’s monograph on Freud. The artist was persuaded to produce an original print for inclusion in a deluxe edition of the book. The result was an extraordinary group of small etched heads, of which four were chosen for the book. 

Over the following years Freud gained in the fluency and power of his etching and started working on a larger scale. Etching came to be an integral part of his creative life. His etched portraits and studies of the naked figure share the immediacy and unflinching honesty of his paintings but carry their own exceptional graphic charge. Through skeins and webs of line, Freud conveys both the weight and the malleability of flesh. His approach to his sitters is direct, intimate yet impenetrable, with no hint of theatricality or rhetorical flourish. 

The forty-two etchings in this exhibition provided an almost complete representation of his work as a printmaker from those portrait etchings of 1982 to imposing later works such as Self-Portrait: Reflection and Woman with an Arm Tattoo of 1996.

Yale Center for British Art, Entrance Court

An accompanying catalogue included essays by Scott Wilcox, the Center’s Curator of Prints and Drawings, and David Cohen, art critic and authority on the School of London, as well as illustrations of all the works in the exhibition. The exhibition was made possible by Paine Webber Group Inc.

Yale Center for British Art:
January 23–March 21, 1999

Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego:
April 10–May 23, 1999

Seattle Art Museum:
June 10–August 15, 1999

Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston:
January 21–March 19, 2000

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts
at Stanford University: June 7–August 13, 2000

Carnegie Museum of Art:
September 16–November 12, 2000