Royal Academy, London Showing from: 27 October 2019 – 26 January 2020
Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits at the Royal Academy, London, will be the first exhibition to focus on the celebrated artist’s visceral and unflinching selfportraits. With more than 50 paintings, prints and drawings the exhibition shows a modern master of British art turning an unflinching eye firmly on himself.
Executed over almost seven decades on canvas and paper, the works chart Freud’s (1922-2011) artistic development: from his early, more linear and graphic works to the fleshier painterly style that became the hallmark of his later work. The majority of the works are from private collections and a number have not been seen publicly for several decades.
Between 2002 and 2003 Freud painted two of his final self-portraits. Sombre in mood, they show him now in his 80s, clutching his scarf and resting his chin on his hand, his face gaunt and built up with thick layers of paint.
Freud’s portraits chart a life’s journey, from young boy to old man, in what was effectively an ongoing study into the process of ageing and the changes it inflicted on his own physical form. Few other artists in the 20th century have portrayed themselves with such consistency.
Lucian Freud’s self-portrait, Reflection, 2002