Thursday, August 21, 2008

Facing Freud

Lucien Freud
Man in a Blue Scarf, 2004
On the subject of portraiture, I read a terrific article in an old Modern Painters magazine titled, Face Off: Seeing yourself through the eyes of Lucien Freud, by the art writer Martin Gayford.
A few excerpts:
...the picture always comes first. Ultimately, indeed, it is the painting not the sitter that survives.
Great portraits do not need to look much like their subjects, and sometimes, one suspects, they don't.
An old quote by Lucien Freud:
The artist who tries to serve nature is only an executive artist. And since the model he so faithfully copies is not going to be hung up next to the picture, since the picture is going to be there on its own, it is of no interest whether it is an accurate copy of the model.
So much for the notion of Freud the meticulous realist.


artslice said...

I'm a die-hard Lucian fan. Love the quote from him... it makes a lot of sense to me. Sounds like a great article, I'll have to look for it at the library.

Your previous post was interesting. It's so funny how people (or 'viewers') are so hung up on accuracy in real life. Don't you think it has a lot to do with photography in today's world? Photos are everywhere - books, magazines, internet etc. A painting or drawing is a different take... more unexpected but most people arn't prepared to 'see' that. What do you think?

Looking forward to seeing your new portraits this fall!

martha miller said...

Hi Brenda:

Martin Gaylord writes at the end of this article about seeing his portrait:

"The portrait is so full of strength, in fact, that occasionally when gazing at in the shawdowy studio while Lucien nipped downstairs, I felt quite disconcerted. But perhaps, on meeting oneself, one would."