A painter’s tastes must grow out of what so obsesses him in life that he never has to ask himself what it is suitable for him to do in art.

Lucian Freud

Reflection with Two Children, Self-Portrait 1965

Freud, Lucian (1922- ). German-born British painter. He was born in Berlin, a grandson of Sigmund Freud, came to England with his parents in 1931, and acquired British nationality in 1939. His earliest love was drawing, and he began to work full time as an artist after being invalided out of the Merchant Navy in 1942. In 1951 his Interior at Paddington (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) won a prize at the Festival of Britain, and since then he has built up a formidable reputation as one of the most powerful contemporary figurative painters. Portraits and nudes are his specialities, often observed in arresting close-up. His early work was meticulously painted, so he has sometimes been described as a `Realist’ (or rather absurdly as a Superrealist), but the subjectivity and intensity of his work has always set him apart from the sober tradition characteristic of most British figurative art since the Second World War. In his later work (from the late 1950s) his handling became much broader.

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