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Lucian Freud: Bella In Her Pluto Shirt - Signed Print

Bella In Her Pluto Shirt
Signed Print

Lucian Freud


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Etching, 1995
Signed Print Edition of 36
H 68cm x W 59cm

Joe Syer

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Critical Review

For Freud's 14 acknowledged children, sitting to be painted, drawn or etched by their father fostered an intense and unusual connection between them. Bella Freud, one of two daughters fathered by Freud with Bernardine Coverley, was one of the artist's children that returned to model for him throughout his career. Quite unlike his etching Bella, made some eight years before this work, Bella In Her Pluto Shirt reveals the intimacy between father and daughter during the work's creation. Freud depicts Bella, from the knees upwards, as she sits relaxed on a chair in his studio. While Freud treats the etching plate like a canvas, the work has a graphic quality. This lends particularly well to the logo on Bella's t-shirt, as the dog's head playfully takes centre stage in the composition. However this is not just any dog, but Pluto - Freud's whippet, and the inspiration for the logo of Bella Freud's eponymous fashion house. By wearing this t-shirt for her sitting, Bella herself makes clear the creative alliance between her and her father, and their seeking inspiration from one another over the years.

Freud was renowned for his lengthy and sometimes gruelling sessions with his sitters. The more time he spent with them, the more he understood the ways they moved, talked, and looked. It was this intense psychological game he played with his sitters that give his portraits such poignancy. In Bella In Her Pluto Shirt, Bella herself sits with her head resting in her hand, suggesting her sense of ease under the gaze of her father. Her right hand, which sits in her lap, is depicted with a rather unfeminine sturdiness. This is the hand not only of an accomplished fashion designer, but also visibly shows her to be the daughter of Lucian.

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