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Studio Sunday: Lucian Freud

A black and white photograph of Lucian Freud's studio, with "Two Brothers from Ulster" sitting on the easel


Our Studio Sunday artist this week is Lucian Freud. Lucian was born in Germany but moved to Britain prior to World War II, where he began pursuing his figurative painting career.


Known in his later career for painting portraits and full-body nudes, generally in deep earthy skin tones, using thick, heavy layers of paint. His subjects often have serious or neutral faces, and combined with the overall tone of the paintings, are sometimes uncomfortable to look at. The works create an almost off-putting impression of the relationship between artist and model.


Freud’s studio space, pictured above, appears small, almost cramped, and rather dimly lit. I wonder if some of the earthy colouration of many of his paintings was due in part to trying to match the skin tone of his models in this lighting. I find the paint-covered wall on the left hand side of the room fascinating. It must represent many years of the artist testing colour or wiping excess paint off a brush. All these swipes of paint have, over time, turned into what looks like it could be a bizarre growth of mold. Contained within this dark mass is a history of a huge array of Freud’s paintings. In the back of the studio, behind the easel, a bed is visible. A number of Freud’s works depict models reclining on this very bed. It’s possible that the artist himself used it for sleeping after a long day spent working in the studio. The utilitarian nature of the room may seem uncomfortable at first, but Freud was certainly able to use the space to its utmost potential. 

[image source]

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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