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Lucian Freud: After Chardin - Signed Print

After Chardin
Signed Print

Lucian Freud


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Etching, 2000
Signed Print Edition of 46
H 60cm x W 73cm

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Critical Review

In 1987, some thirteen years before this etching was produced, Lucian Freud was invited by London's National Gallery to participate in their exhibition series titled The Artist's Eye. Freud's was the third exhibition in this series, and the artist was invited "to disrupt for a month or so the usual historical display of the Gallery's paintings". Alongside a selection of the National Gallery's acclaimed works, Freud exhibited two of his own works to reveal the influence of these painters on his style and process.

Chardin's original painting, The Young Schoolmistress, was selected by Freud and curated alongside works which - in Freud's words - shared the quality that "they all make me want to go back to work". Indeed, Chardin's painting inspired Freud so much that he not only made two paintings responding to it, but also a pair of etchings over a decade later. Quite unlike Chardin's paintings, yet typical of Freud's style under Francis Bacon's influence, the two subjects have a pronounced hardness. The schoolmistress, with her overly accentuated nose, appears far more authoritative than Chardin's. Even more so, the child is rendered with almost grotesque scrutiny as Freud has emphasised every crevice of their plump flesh. By cropping Chardin's original composition, Freud invites the viewer into this somewhat rigid scene and gives a markedly claustrophobic atmosphere to the work. A once intimate and tender scene becomes, under Freud's commanding line, intense and almost uncomfortable.

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