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“The aura given out by a person or object is as much a part of them as their flesh.”

Lucian Freud (1922 – 2011)

Lucian Freud was a British painter and draftsman, specialising in figurative art. he is known as one of the foremost 20th-century portraitists.

Born in Berlin to a Jewish family, he was the grandson of Sigmund Freud. The family moved to London in 1933 to escape the rise of Nazism. From 1942-43 he attended Goldsmiths College, London, before enlisting in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War.

Freud was influenced by surrealism, but by the early 1950s his often stark paintings tended towards realism. He was an intensely private and guarded man, and his paintings, completed over a 60-year career, are mostly portraits of friends and family. They are generally sombre and thickly impastoed, often set in unsettling interiors and urban landscapes. Unapologetically self-absorbed, Freud embodied a notion that comes to us from the Renaissance and which has been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci: “Every artist paints himself.”  He painted himself obsessively.

A brief period spent in Europe helped to influence Freud’s work; a time in which he befriended Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti. Once home in London, he joined the staff of the Slade School of Art and began exhibiting in London galleries.

Freud is rumoured to have fathered as many as forty children. Although this number is generally taken as an exaggeration, fourteen children have been identified, two from Freud’s first marriage and 12 by various mistresses

Freud died in London on 20 July 2011 and is buried in Highgate Cemetery. Archbishop Rowan Williams officiated at the private funeral.