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It’s the first major survey of Freud’s work in 10 years

The exhibition spans a lifetime of Freud’s art – from the 1940s through to the 2000s – charting his artistic development as one of Britain’s finest figurative painters. 

More than 60 loans are on display, including some of Freud’s best-known paintings

Works from museums and major private collections around the world have travelled to the exhibition, including some of Freud’s most important paintings, such as 'Girl with Roses' (British Council Collection), 'Two Irishmen in W11', (1984-5, Private Collection), 'Man in a Chair (Portrait of Baron H.H. Thyssen-Bornemisza)' (1985, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collections) and 'The Brigadier', (2003-4, Private Collection).

Image: A view of the exhibition showing from left to right: 'The Brigadier' (2003-4, Private collection), 'And the Bridegroom' (1993, The Lewis Collection), and 'Sleeping by the Lion Carpet' (1996, The Lewis Collection) © The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022/ Bridgeman Images
It explores Freud’s examination of the human body

The exhibition charts Freud’s continuous examination of the surface of the human body, including his own in old age, and bodies which were marginalised. The exhibition culminates with some of Freud’s most famous monumental naked portraits, as well as 'Painter Working, Reflection' (1993, The Newhouse Collection).

Image: Visitors in front of Lucian Freud, 'Painter Working, Reflection', 1993. The Newhouse Collection © The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
It’s not all about the man…

Freud's fame and infamy has often overshadowed his work and the historical context in which it was made. This exhibition seeks to present new perspectives on Freud’s art, focusing on the astonishing range of his work and his remarkable development over 70 years of practice.  

... although it does show a deeply personal side to his work

Amongst the works in the exhibition are several intimate portraits of Freud’s family and friends, including his daughters, Bella and Esther, and close friends Francis Bacon and David Dawson, his assistant and model for over 20 years. One particularly poignant room in the exhibition is dedicated to Freud’s tender chronicling of the frailty of his mother Lucie towards the end of her life, and her eventual death

It considers Freud as a modern-day court painter

In contrast, several of Freud’s portraits depict public figures and powerful individuals, which reveal how the artist positioned himself in the tradition of historic court painters, such as Rubens and Velázquez. Portraits in the exhibition, which include Queen Elizabeth II, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and Baron Rothschild, recall the context of court traditions of private portraits for public display. 

It’s the latest chapter in a long association between Freud and the National Gallery

The close connection between Freud and the Gallery goes back to Freud’s earliest days in London, when he would visit regularly. Freud went on to curate the exhibition ‘Artist’s Eye’ in 1987; he created new work in response to the collection for ‘Encounters - New Art from Old' in 2000; and supported the successful fundraising campaign to acquire Titian’s ‘Diana and Actaeon’ and ‘Diana and Callisto’ in 2008.  

‘To me’ he said about the Titians, ‘these are simply the most beautiful pictures in the world. Once you've seen them you want to see them again and again.’ 

Image: Banners outside the National Gallery, London for the 'Painters' Paintings: From Freud to Van Dyck' exhibition, 2016

Following Freud's death in 2011, a painting from his own personal collection, Corot’s ‘Italian Woman' entered the Gallery's collection, having been acquired via the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. The painting and its history was a focus of the exhibition, ‘Painters' Paintings: From Freud to Van Dyck’ in 2016.

2022 is Freud’s centenary

The exhibition marks 100 years since Freud’s birth on 8 December 1922, fitting for a retrospective look at his life’s work.

Image: Visitors in the exhibition with 'Large Interior, Paddington' (1968-9, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid) in centre © The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Lucian Freud: New Perspectives
1 October 2022 – 22 January 2023
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Discover new perspectives on Freud