On May 1, Acquavella Galleries will present “Lucian Freud Drawings,” the most comprehensive exhibition of the late artist’s drawings ever to be shown in the U.S. Curator William Feaver, who organized Freud’s retrospective at Tate Britain in 2002 (a cliff notes of the life and art works of the artist), worked with the artist for four years on the show, and has brought together over 80 works from 1940 to the present, from public and private collections, including intimate portraits of family and friends as well as landscapes, many of which were selected from Freud’s sketchbooks and have never before been seen.
During his life, Freud was known mostly for his portraits and figure paintings, of friends, peers, drag queens, mistresses, wives, dogs and royalty in life and in death. His subjects included Francis Bacon, Kate Moss and the Queen of England, and were more often than not depicted nude and sprawled on the floor or lying supine on a couch. He was known for his peculiar depiction of flesh in a variety of tones and textures, which often made his subjects appear grotesque—his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was somewhat controversial. And while he became more focused on painting in the 1950s and drew less as a result, he did continue to draw. And this show, the gallery’s fifth show of Freud’s work in its 19 years representing the late artist, will bring to light many important works on paper from all points in his life.
“We began the conversation about this exhibition several years ago,” said William Acquavella in a statement, “and he was an enthusiastic collaborator, helping to locate major works on paper particularly from the early days of his career. Sadly he did not live to see this exhibition which we hope will establish that, while Freud has been justifiably celebrated as the greatest figurative painter of his generation, his graphic work deserves no less acclaim.”
Click through for a selection of work from the show.
Lucian Freud, Dark Coat II, 1948
Pencil on paper 11 3/8 x 8 3/8 inches (28.8 x 21.4 cm) Private Collection © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo © The Lucian Freud Archive
Lucian Freud, Palm Tree, 1942
Pastel, chalk and ink on paper 24 1/4 x 17 1/8 inches (61.5 x 43.5 cm) Freud Museum, London © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo © Lucian Freud Archive
Lucian Freud, A Filly, 1969
Pencil and watercolor on paper 13 5/8 x 9 1/2 inches (34.5 x 24 cm) Private Collection © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo © Lucian Freud Archive
Lucian Freud, Self-Portrait, 1961
Watercolor on paper 13 5/8 x 9 3/4 inches (34.6 x 24.8 cm) Josh Conviser and Martine Conviser Fedyszyn © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo Jason Dewey
Lucian Freud, Naked Man on a Sofa, 1989
Charcoal on paper 22 3/8 x 29 7/8 inches (56.8 x 75.9 cm) Aaron I. Fleischman © The Lucian Freud Archive
Lucian Freud, Tenby Harbour, 1944
Crayon on paper 16 1/4 x 20 1/2 inches (41.2 x 52 cm) National Museum of Wales © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo Courtesy National Museum of Wales
Lucian Freud, Study of Francis Bacon, 1951
Crayon and chalk on paper 12 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches (54.7 x 42 cm) Private Collection © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo © Lucian Freud Archive
Lucian Freud, Interior Scene, 1948
Pastel and Conté crayon on paper 22 1/2 x 19 inches (57.1 x 48.2 cm) Private Collection © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo © Lucian Freud Archive
Lucian Freud, Head of a Man, 1986
Charcoal on paper 25 3/8 x 18 5/8 inches (64.4 x 47.3 cm) The Museum of Modern Art, New York Gift of Agnes Gund, 1988 (36.1988) © The Lucian Freud Archive Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY
Lucian Freud, Arnold Abraham Goodman, Baron Goodman, 1985
Charcoal on paper 13 x 10 ½ inches (33 x 26.7 cm) National Portrait Gallery, London © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo © Lucian Freud Archive