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Lucian Freud: The Painter’s Mother - Signed Print

The Painter’s Mother
Signed Print

Lucian Freud


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Etching, 1982
Signed Print Edition of 25
H 27cm x W 22cm

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Critical Review

Freud's mother, Lucie Freud, was one of the artist's most avid sitters throughout his artistic career. She allegedly sat for her son no fewer than a thousand times over a decade, committing hundreds of hours to her son's observation of her portrait. After the death of Lucian's father, Ernst Freud, Lucie suffered from depression, and even attempted to take her own life. Perhaps as a way to deal with her grief, Lucie sat for Lucian more than ever in the period between 1972-84, with Lucian producing 18 portraits of her. The Painter's Mother is therefore not only Freud's tender representation of his ageing mother, but captures an experience between mother and son as they both mourned their loved one.

In most of his representations of his mother, Lucie is rarely looking directly at the viewer - or Freud - and usually gazes out of the frame completely. The Painter's Mother is a rare instance in which Lucie's gaze meets face to face with the viewer's. Her gaze seems to penetrate the two-dimensional surface of the print, and betrays her grief-stricken state. The intensity with which Freud depicted his mother here is the result of hours of lengthy sittings. We get the impression that the time Lucie spent sitting for this portrait, among many others, was time also spent navigating her grief with her beloved son.

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