March 24, 2010

Lucian Freud: Topless

Lucian Freud, working at night. Courtesy Centre George Pompidou

Lucian Freud: L'Atelier at the Centre George Pompidou is based on the theme of the painter's studio, which curator Cécile Debray posits as the crucial one for his body of work, and comprises some 50 large paintings produced from the 1940s to today. These are supplemented by drawings and photographs of his now-famous London studio. In Art in America, Debray talks with Alice Pfeiffer about mapping the symbolism of Freud's studio.  "Freud is very famous in England, and with the success of the sales, Freud began to be very well known and written about. But if you walk around European and American museums, you don't see his work. It was time to show Freud differently: not as a retrospective with a closed narrative, but as a punch, a very tight selection with essentially only masterpieces, to give a few reading keys, based around the theme of the point of view of the painter behind his easel, facing the live model. This is a position he isn't going to leave. He still works that way, and it is precisely this that made contemporary art ill at ease with him: it is a very traditional position, but he upholds it so absolutely that it becomes radical. Since the 1940s, he has pushed further and further his exercise of observating a live model."

"Lucian Freud: L'Atelier," curated by Cécile Debray, Centre George Pompidou, Paris. Through July 19.

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