By Paul Burch
A few days after opening I went to see the Lucian Freud exhibition at National Portrait Gallery. I cant remember being more excited about visiting an art gallery. Probably because LF is one living artist I have followed and admired since I was a school boy.
I love the fact that he never had a WAY (as he put it) of approaching or executing a portrait. Always with fresh eyes. Always with the same excitement and enthusiasm. And despite the art world favouring more contemporary, fashionable painters and artists, LF stuck to his guns as a figurative painter.
It’s said that when Lucian Freud observed a sitter it was like a bird of prey focusing upon its next meal. Relentless and merciless. Merciless perhaps, but only in the way he demanded complete dedication from his sitter – each portrait could take up to 2 years. The thing that really stuck me about the exhibition was how fresh the work appeared. However unvarnished and cruel the end result may appear, to me, his work shows a real honesty and sensitivity towards human beings. Or as he preferred to put it, the human animal.
For an insight in to how LF worked and built relationships with his sitters, I’d recommend reading MAN WITH A BLUE SCARF. On sitting for LF by Martin Gayford.
The Lucien Freud exhibition is on at the National Portrait Gallery until 27 May. More details @NPG http://bit.ly/GR8LBl