Lucian Freud (1922 – 2011)

Lucian Freud, distinguished artist and grandson of Sigmund Freud, died yesterday at the age of 88. The painter was best known for his contributions to figurative art and his uncompromising portraits, which The New York Times has collected in an impressive online gallery.

Freud was also known for his rigorous (some would say cruel) demands on his subjects. From his New York Times obituary:

To the artist and Freud biographer Lawrence Gowing [Lucian Freud] said, “For me the paint is the person.” Mr. Freud’s dingy studio became his artistic universe, a grim theater in which his contorted subjects, stripped bare and therefore unidentifiable by class, submitted to the artist’s unblinking, merciless inspection.

You can learn more about Lucian Freud’s work and legacy through a discussion of his painting Standing by the Rags at SmART History (video posted above or click here).

Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.

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