Lucian Freud: Self-Portraits, the first exhibition focusing on the self-portraits of the celebrated artist, will be at the Royal Academy in autumn 2019.
The exhibition shows around 50 works that span almost seven decades and represent Freud's artistic development (1922-2011): from his early work, more linear and graphic, to the more carnal style that characterized him.
The exhibition will be organized in a flexible chronology, divided into six sections that reveal Freud's extensive exploration of the self-portrait. When he was asked if he considered himself as a good model, the artist replied: "No, I don't accept the information I get when I look at myself and that's where the problem starts.” This "problem" led to a confrontation with the image of himself and his questioning of painting, something that is evident in his first self-portrait, Man with a Feather (1943), and his latest works Self-portrait, Reflection (2002), placed side by side in the exhibition. While the first one reveals the narrow brushstroke that would define his initial period, the 2002 work exemplifies the technical virtuosity of his mature work.
Freud's self-portraits traces a journey through the artist's life, from his youth until his elder years; in his 2002-2003 self-portraits we see a man in his 80s with an emaciated face holding a scarf and resting his chin on his hand, a portrait constructed with the thick layers of paint that became one of the hallmarks of his works.
Most of the works collected come from private collections and a good number of them have not been seen by the public for several decades. The exhibition also features Freud's drawings and sketchbooks, as well as a series of unfinished portraits.
Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD