A Lucian Freud exhibition including family photographs, childhood drawings and illustrated letters will be presented at the Freud Museum in honor of his centenary.
Over a career spanning six decades, the British painter often used his family as his muse.
Her parents included her neurologist grandfather Sigmund, who was the founder of psychoanalysis, revolutionizing the way we understand the mind, and her pioneering psychoanalyst aunt Anna.
To honor what would have been Lucian’s centenary year, the Freud Museum in London is holding an exhibition titled Freud: The Painter and His Family from July 6 to January 23.
It will showcase rare items and items that have never been seen before at the Freud Museum in Hampstead – the final resting place of Sigmund, who died in 1939.
The exhibition will include illustrated childhood letters and books belonging to Lucian, as well as covers he designed for books written by his children – four of whom are writers.
His only surviving sculpture titled Three-legged Horse (1937) and the early 1944 painting Palm Tree, which he gave to Anna, will also feature.
The Freud Museum already houses Sigmund’s office, study and famous psychoanalytical couch.
Curator Martin Gayford told the PA news agency: “The Freud Museum has decided that they would like to have an exhibition on Lucian, who is obviously another really notable member of the Freud family, to mark Lucian’s centenary, he was born on December 8, 1922.
“We spent quite a bit of time thinking about what we could logically do at the Freud Museum that would be related to the location and different from the various exhibitions later in the year, and we decided that looking at its connection to it and other family members would be an interesting thing to do and something that hadn’t really been done before.
“The exhibition is distributed in the museum, in the study we put two works, one is a portrait of Lucie Freud, Lucian’s mother, from 1977 which hangs above the famous sofa.
“Going upstairs in the exhibition room, we have an archive of family photographs, drawings of him as a child and some early works, including the sculpture of the three-legged horse he made in the late 1900s. 30s before he went to art school to convince the admissions board that he would get a place in art school so it played a role in his life and it’s the only sculpture of surviving Freud.
Mr Gayford added that for Lucian the distinction between art and life “barely existed”.
He added: “He once remarked that his work was ‘purely autobiographical’. That is, they were people, animals, places, and things he knew and cared about.
“Therefore, for him, his family was doubly important. First, because his upbringing helped form him, even when he reacted against it.
“Second, because his parents, children and grandchildren were all among his subjects.”
Carol Seigel, Director of the Freud Museum, said: “Lucian Freud: The Painter and His Family is an exploration of the extraordinary work of Lucian Freud through the lens of his family.
“Housed in the home of her grandfather Sigmund, whose work probed the complexities of family life, we hope that visitors will find in the exhibition an intimacy, depth and resonance beyond the usual framework of ‘a gallery.
“Here Sigmund worked, surrounded by his books, his collections and the original psychoanalytical couch. Here, his grandsons, including Lucian, were able to visit him.
“Now, here, Lucian’s work takes center stage as we open our archives to reveal illustrated childhood letters and family photographs, and also feature previously unseen or little-known works generously on loan from members of family.”
On the eve of World War II, the Freud family came to England as refugees, having fled Austria following Nazi annexation in March 1938.