A visit to the newly opened Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery could be the perfect way to round off a stay in luxury hotels in London.
The highly anticipated Lucian Freud Portraits retrospective officially opens on Thursday (February 9th), but special press viewings have already been held, leading to a number of rave reviews.
Grandson of the psychologist Sigmund Freud, Lucian Freud is considered one of the greatest British artists of the 20th century.
He was particularly well-known for his portraits, of which he painted dozens until his death in July last year, aged 88.
This new exhibition spans the artist’s entire body of work, from a 1940 portrait of the then 18-year-oild Freud’s art college tutor Cedric Morris, to his last work – an unfinished portrait of his pet dog and his studio assistant David Dawson.
Describing the exhibition as “tremendous”, the Guardian’s Adrian Searle awarded it a maximum five stars.
“Through a sequence of larger and smaller rooms, Freud’s portraiture is unpacked, in all its variety, from the thinly-painted acuteness of his 1950s work to his affecting, grand and vulnerable portraits of the performance artist Leigh Bowery, and the mountainous and magnificent Sue Tilley (Big Sue, the Benefits Supervisor). Each has a room devoted to them,” he said.
In another five-star review, the Telegraph’s Richard Dorment said that the exhibition was “first-class”.
“This is by far the best large selection of Freud’s work I’ve seen, and in addition to some of the paintings we all know like the backs of our hands, there were plenty of pictures I hadn’t seen before,” he commented.
Other works on display include portraits of the artist’s mother Lucie, painters French Auerbach, Francis Bacon and David Hockney and brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles.
The exhibition runs at the National Portrait Gallery until May 27th this year.