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Signed Print Edition of 46
H 78cm x W 96cm
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
This detailed etching was executed by Lucian Freud in 2002. At the centre of the composition is Eli, the pet whippet Freud gifted to his studio assistant and good friend David Dawson earlier in the same year. With layered hatching in the background, Freud mimics the depth and folds in the blanket that the small dogs nests in. The dog itself is curled up snoozing, with its tail sweetly tucked between its hind legs. With meticulous attention to detail, Freud has even etched the marks on Eli's belly and pronounced the glossy coat of the young dog.
As our collection of Freud's Dogs evidences, the whippet was Lucian Freud's favourite breed of dog. After the death of his beloved pet whippet Pluto, Freud gifted Eli to Dawson, as he clearly wasn't ready to work in a studio without a dog sauntering around. The etching is testament to Freud's adoration of the new dog, as he clearly observed the dog asleep countless times to capture it with such attention to detail.
In fact, the level of detail Freud used to capture the sleeping Eli exceeds that which he ascribed to some of his human subjects. The docile whippet was clearly a cherished companion for the reserved and contemplative Freud, and a charming presence in his studio in his older age.