'Everything is autobiographical and everything is a portrait, even if it's only a chair.' Portraits were central to the work of Lucian Freud. Working only from life, the artist claimed 'I could never put anything into a picture that wasn't actually there in front of me.'
Lucian Freud Portraits surveys his portraits and figure paintings from across his long career. Drawing together the finest portraits from public and private collections around the world, the book explores Freud's stylistic development and technical virtuosity. A series of previously unpublished interviews conducted by Michael Auping between May 2009 and January 2011 reveal the artist's thoughts on the complex relationship between artist and sitter, the particular challenges of painting nudes and self-portraits, and his views on other painters he admired. Freud's psychological portraits are often imbued with a mood of alienation.
A private man, the artist's close relationship with his sitters was played out behind the closed door of the studio. Frequently there is the sense of an emotionally charged drama unfolding, but his subjects remain elusive. Sitters represented in the book include family members, particularly his mother, Lucie, and artists such as Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon and David Hockney. In the early 1990s Freud produced a series of monumental paintings of the performance artist Leigh Bowery and Bowery's friend Sue Tilley, the 'benefits supervisor', examples of which are reproduced in this book.