Lucian Freud (1922-2011) was the preeminent British painter and printmaker of the 20th century, known for his thickly impastoed portraits and figure paintings. He was associated with Expressionism and Surrealism and explored the relationship between artist and sitter.
In 1992, Mary Ryan Gallery featured a survey of Freud’s etchings, the first major American exhibition of his complete prints.
Born in Berlin, Freud is the grandson of Sigmund Freud. He moved to London when he was 11 years old and studied for one term at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, before enrolling at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham in 1939. He later trained at Goldsmiths College until 1943.
Freud’s first solo show opened at Alex Reid and Lefevre Gallery in London in 1944. He was selected to represent Britain at the 27th Venice Biennale in 1954. His first retrospective opened at the Hayward Gallery in London in 1974. In 1987, a second retrospective— Freud’s first major retrospective outside the UK— was organized by the British Council at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardern, Smithsonian Institute, DC. In 1991, Lucian Freud, Paintings and Works on Paper 1940-1991 was organized by the British Council at Palazzo Ruspoli, Rome, and traveled to Tate Gallery, Liverpool; Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts; Otani Memorial Museum, Nishinomiya; Setagaya Arts Museum, Tokyo; and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. “Lucian Freud: The Painter’s Etchings” was an important print retrospective held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2008, curated by Starr Figueroa. Freud’s work has been the subject of exhibitions at major museums worldwide, among them Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Grand Palais, Paris; National Portrait Gallery, DC; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.