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Lucian Freud: Before The Fourth - Signed Print

Before The Fourth
Signed Print

Lucian Freud


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Etching, 2004
Signed Print Edition of 46
H 36cm x W 48cm

Joe Syer

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Critical Review

Lucian Freud is famed not only for his painstakingly real approach to portraiture, but also for the sometimes gruelling sitting process he put his subjects through. Spending sometimes hundreds of hours - and even years - on singular portraits, the relationship Freud fostered with his sitters is intrinsic to our reading of his work. Before The Fourth is no exception to this. Even though the sitter - actress Annabel Mullion - was a friend of Freud's, he seems to have unlocked a new level of intimacy in this portrait of her nude, pregnant form. Capturing Mullion before the birth of her fourth child, Freud delineates her face with a tender softness. This rather adoring portrait is somewhat disrupted by Freud's treatment of her body. With his use of straight etched lines, he pronounces her swollen pregnant belly at the centre of the composition.

Through the contrasts in mark-making above and below her figure, Freud proves his ability to emulate tone and texture with his etching needle alone. Like so many of Freud's portraits, Before The Fourth likely took a lengthly time to execute, but is a poignant snapshot of his friend during her pregnancy.

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