Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Art News

Lucian Freud, Figurative Painter Who Redefined Portraiture, Is Dead at 88

The New York Times reported recently that Lucian Freud, whose stark and revealing paintings of friends and intimates, splayed nude in his studio, recast the art of portraiture and offered a new approach to figurative art, died on Wednesday night at his home in London. He was 88.

Mr. Freud, a grandson of Sigmund Freud and a brother of the British television personality Clement Freud, was already an important figure in the small London art world when, in the immediate postwar years, he embarked on a series of portraits that established him as a potent new voice in figurative art.

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 (“Debt stimulates me,” he once said). In 1948, he married Kitty Garman, the daughter of the sculptor Jacob Epstein, whom he depicted in several portraits, notably “Girl With Roses,” “Girl With a Kitten” (1947) and “Girl With a White Dog” (1950-51). That marriage ended in divorce, as did his second marriage, to Lady Caroline Blackwood. He is survived by many children from his first marriage and from a series of romantic relationships.

Naked!

“He’s buck-naked — Lord have mercy!” a woman said, stopping to gawk at, loudly judge and then photograph a sudden expanse of flesh.

Seconds after 7 a.m. on Monday, trousers were dropping and skirts were lifting all along Wall Street. The mass dishabille was part of a site-specific work of performance art, “Ocularpation: Wall Street,” by an artist, Zefrey Throwell. It was intended as a commentary on work and the economy, Mr. Throwell said, though that seemed to be lost on the police stationed near the New York Stock Exchange.
There, three people — two men and a woman dressed (briefly) as a stock trader, a janitor and a dog-walker — were arrested and taken to a nearby precinct, where they were given summons for disorderly conduct and later released. By 7:05 a.m., the remaining 46 men and women who were part of the project had simply put their clothes back on and gone about their day.

(Stories from: New York Times online) Drawing by Charlotte Rossmann