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Early Freud Works to Display at Pallant House Gallery

A new display of the art of Lucian Freud (1922-2011) is currently on show at the Pallant House Gallery, featuring three of his early works on new long-term loan to the gallery.

The works exemplify Freud's meticulous and sharp early techniques, and will be accompanied by a selection of books featuring drawings and designs by Freud in the late forties and early fifties. 

The works, ‘Girl with Fig Leaf’ (1948), ‘Interior Scene’ (1948), and ‘Portrait of a Girl’ (1950) will feature among the gallery's own collection of modern British art, which include ‘Self-Portrait with Hyacinth in Pot’ (1947-48), ‘Portrait of John Craxton’ (c.1942) and ‘Unripe Tangerine’ (1946).

Antiques News - Early Freud Works to Display at Pallant House Gallery

Lucian Freud, Girl with Fig Leaf, 1948, etching on paper

'Girl with Fig Leaf’ (1948) is one of only six etchings made by Freud between 1946-48 before abandoning the technique until later in his career. The subject is Kitty Garman, daughter of sculptor Jacob Epstein and Kathleen Garman, whom Freud met in 1947 and married in 1948. The etching is one of a series of psychologically charged portraits of her that Freud made during this period.

Antiques News - Early Freud Works to Display at Pallant House Gallery

Lucian Freud, Interior Scene, 1948, pastel and conté on paper

‘Interior Scene’ (1948) has similar elements to ‘Girl with Fig Leaf’, using a torn and dying bramble with its spiky thorns to add a menacing atmosphere. The sitter’s face is again partially obscured, giving the painting a sense of narrative which hints at the literary collaborations Freud undertook during the forties and fifties.

Antiques News - Early Freud Works to Display at Pallant House Gallery

Lucian Freud, Portrait of a Girl, 1950, oil on copper

‘Portrait of a Girl’ (1950), an intimate study of Anne Dunn, is one of a handful of tiny oil paintings on copper that Freud produced in the early fifties. By the late 1940s Freud had started an affair with Anne Dunn, the year she was to marry Kitty’s cousin, Michael Wishart.

Freud admitted to being 'visually aggressive' with his sitters; "I would sit very close and stare. It could be uncomfortable for both of us".  His portraits typically offered a glimpse into the complexity of his personal relationships.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Freud took on several significant literary projects, which included commissions from Tamil poet Meary James Thurairajah Tambimuttu, and illustrating covers for poetry periodicals and books including The Glass Tower by Nicholas Moore and The Equilibriad by William Sansom.

Born in Berlin in 1922, Freud moved to Britain with his family in 1933. During formative years which he spent at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (1938-39) and the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing run by Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines (1941-42), Freud worked with a range of materials including oil, ink, conté, pastel, crayon and etching.  His early works revealed his fascination with individual portraits of family and friends, and everyday still life and botanical objects, which he also used to symbolic effect in his portraits.

Lucian Freud: Early Works is on display at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester from 4 April until 1 October 2017. For more information, visit Pallant House Gallery.

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