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Lucian Freud: After Constable’s Elm - Signed Print

After Constable’s Elm
Signed Print

Lucian Freud


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Etching, 2003
Signed Print Edition of 46
H 48cm x W 36cm

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Critical Review

Both famed artists in their own lifetimes, John Constable and Lucian Freud have more than their celebrity artist status in common. When curating a retrospective exhibition of Constable's work in 2002, Freud embedded his own works into the show to reveal the influence of the British painter on his work. Separated by over a century in time, the artists of course have their differences. Constable was a trained Romantic and dedicated landscape painter. Freud's work, on the other hand, is sometimes unpleasant in its realism and he focused primarily on portraits. However, one landscape by Constable entranced Freud throughout his artistic career. After witnessing Constable's Study Of The Trunk Of An Elm Tree, Freud attempted to mimic the work as a student to no avail. For the purpose of this 2002 exhibition however, he returned to the subject and executed it with a maturity and mastery of line so distinct to Freud.

John Constable once said: "I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, light shade, and perspective always make it beautiful." Indeed, Freud often depicted people and places with a painstaking realism, finding beauty in what other artists might have omitted. After Constable's Elm reveals Freud's unique ability to convey light, shade, and perspective with line and black ink alone.

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