The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark recently showed a collection of etchings by one of the greatest British artists of the last century – Lucien Freud. The etchings give a heart-warming insight in to Freud’s charming mentality and affection for his sitters through carefully crafted lines that circumscribe personality. The 52 works borrowed from the UBS Collection summarise the turning point in 1982 when Freud began concentrating on his etchings intensely.
Freud is known for the way he describes the body through his works – it’s complex and examined yet simplistic in their final rendering. It touches on the deep relationship with the human body – especially when naked. Every shape and form is celebrated in its individual contour as a line of personality.
Freud is one of the most compelling post-war British artists – his images lack a complete social and period related context in a radical move away from his contemporises. For him, the few objects in the studio and the white ground of the paper are the world of the picture in its entirety, and to this we must add Freud’s sometimes dramatic cropping of the picture surface – something that circumscribes the character – another form of line much like those of each etch.
His pictures are structured in a way that their candidness is snapshot like – intimate moments captured through a fleeting glance – the focus of the scene is the interaction, between subject, artist and viewer – described by Freud himself when he said “You can’t be aware enough. I’ve always thought that biology was a great help to me and perhaps even having worked with animals was a help. I thought through observation I could make something into my own that might not have been seen or noticed in that way before.” This show at the Louisiana lovingly shows a different side to the celebrated artist and will no doubt bolster Freud’s place as an artistic genius.
By Harry Seymour