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Lucian Freud: Head Of Ib - Signed Print

Head Of Ib
Signed Print

Lucian Freud


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Etching, 1988
Signed Print Edition of 40
H 36cm x W 28cm

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Critical Review

Having one of Britain's most acclaimed painters as a father was not without its tensions for Lucian Freud's children. Though Freud was, indeed, a somewhat distant father, many of his children returned to model for him to experience that father-child bond missing in their childhoods. Isobel ("Ib") Boyt, daughter of Lucian and Suzy Boyt, was one of these children. Unlike the more tender representations of his other children, like Esther for example, Head Of Ib has a distinctively forlorn character. The sitter looks melancholically out of the etching's frame, and Freud has handled her flesh with such attention to texture that we can almost see her straining while under her father's probing gaze. For Ib, sitting for her father wasn't always the freeing and intimate experience her siblings felt. In fact, sometimes it was unendurable, as she once remarked: "Each time I did a picture with him I swore I'd never do it again, but then I do because it is a way of having a relationship with my dad as well as there is a part of me that if he wants to paint me I am quite flattered."

Over the years Ib returned to sit for her father, despite her reluctance when she was sat in the studio. She modelled for other etched portraits, like Ib, and was even painted with her husband while she was pregnant in Ib And Her Husband (1992). In most of Freud's representations of Ib she is usually asleep, perhaps when there was the most peace between them. Head Of Ib however is a rare instance when Freud pictures his daughter awake, and the tension between them is unavoidable in his loaded marks on the etching plate. Freud is famed for his brutally honest perception of his subjects, but with Head Of Ib we see not only the way he truly saw his daughter, but a frank confrontation of himself as a father.

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