Lucian Freud: Early Work 1940-1958

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Lucian Freud Early Works 1940–58

Lucian Freud Early Works 1940–58

LOAN EXHIBITION 9 October – 12 December 2008

HAZLITT HOLLAND-HIBBERT Lucian Freud with antlers, 1955, photograph by Cecil Beaton

38 Bury Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BB


Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert is very proud to be holding this exhibition, the first for many years to focus entirely on Lucian Freud’s early work before his change in the late fifties to heavier brushes and a loosening of paint. Each work conveys the artist’s exquisite sharpness of technique during this period, in the meticulous images of tense, wide-eyed sitters and isolated fruits and plants. It is as if the portraits reveal as much about the artist as the subjects themselves and the still lifes take on a presence that make the familiar look unfamiliar, more distinct and specific in personality. Many people have helped enable this exhibition to happen, in particular Diana Rawstron, John Riddy, Richard Calvocoressi, Fionn Morgan, Pauline Tennant and of course all the lenders who, without exception, have offered unwavering support by agreeing to live without their works for the duration of the show. Above all, however, we must thank David Dawson, who initiated the idea and then played a major part in selecting and sourcing the works, and Catherine Lampert, who has been invaluable for her research and largely responsible for gathering information, some of which has come to light for the first time. Finally, we are most grateful to Lucian Freud himself, without whose blessing this exhibition would never have taken place. James Holland-Hibbert


1 Stephen Spender, 1940 Oil on canvas 24 × 19a inches; 61 × 49.5 cm



2 Loch Ness from Drumnadrochit, 1943 Pen and ink 14e Ă— 17e inches; 37.2 Ă— 45.4 cm



3 Cacti and Stuffed Bird, 1943 Pencil and blue pastel on card 16l × 21 inches; 41 × 53.3 cm



4 Boy in Bed with Fruit, 1943 Pen and ink 13 × 8e inches; 33 × 22.3 cm



5 Gerald Wilde, 1943 Oil on panel 12 Ă— 9 inches; 30.5 Ă— 23 cm



7 Scotch Thistle, 1944 Conté, pencil and crayon 9 × 13 inches; 22.9 × 33 cm

(opposite) 6 Gorse Sprig, 1944 Conté, pencil and crayon on Ingres paper 18 × 12 inches; 45.8 × 30.5 cm 18


8 Chicken in a Bucket, 1944 Graphite and coloured pencil 15 Ă— 15 inches; 38 Ă— 38 cm



9 Man with Arms Folded, 1944 Conté and chalk on brown paper 11 × 17e inches; 28 × 45.5 cm

(opposite) 10 Head of a Woman, 1943–44 Conté and chalk on grey paper 18n × 11o inches; 47.3 × 30.1 cm 22


11 Dead Heron, 1945 Oil on canvas 19d × 29l inches; 49 × 74 cm



12 Woman with a Tulip, 1945 Oil on panel 9 × 5 inches; 22.8 × 12.7 cm



13 Head of a Poet, circa 1945 Conté and chalk on Ingres paper 25n × 13e inches; 62.5 × 35 cm



14 Bird in a Cage, 1946 Pen and ink 5e × 7n inches; 15 × 19.4 cm

(opposite) 15 The Birds of Olivier Larronde, 1946 Oil on panel 13e × 9e inches; 34.9 × 24.8 cm 30


16 Portrait of a Man, 1946 Oil on canvas 9a × 7a inches; 24 × 19 cm



(opposite) 17 Girl’s Head, 1946 Conté and crayon, coloured chalk on Ingres paper 17e × 15e inches; 45.1 × 40 cm 34

18 Head of a Girl, 1946 Oil on panel 12 × 9 inches; 30.5 × 23 cm


19 Lemon Sprig, 1947 Oil on board 4a × 7 inches; 11.5 × 18 cm



20 Girl in a Dark Jacket, 1947 Oil on panel 18a × 15 inches; 47 × 38.1 cm



21 Head of a Girl, 1947 Ink and coloured crayon 9a × 5e inches; 24 × 14.7 cm



22 Man at Night (Self Portrait), 1947–48 Pen, ink and conté 20d × 16e inches; 51.5 × 42.5 cm



23 Drawing for Narcissus, circa 1948 Pen and ink 10 Ă— 14 inches; 25.4 Ă— 35.5 cm



24 Christian Bérard, 1948 Black and white conté on Ingres paper 16l × 17d inches; 41 × 43.8 cm



25 Still Life with Aloe Plant, 1948–49 Oil on panel 8a × 11e inches; 21.5 × 29.8 cm



26 Head of a Woman, circa 1950 Oil on canvas 17e × 13e inches; 45 × 35 cm



27 Girl in a Blanket, 1952 Oil on canvas 39a × 29a inches; 100.5 × 75 cm



28 Portrait of Alexis de Redé, circa 1953 Oil on copper 5o × 3e inches; 15 × 9.7 cm (opposite) 29 Portrait of a Man, 1954 Oil on canvas 13 × 9a inches; 33 × 24.1 cm 54


30 Portrait of a Man, circa 1954 Oil on canvas 14 × 9n inches; 35.5 × 24.5 cm



31 A Poet, 1957–58 Oil on canvas 13 × 8a inches; 33 × 21.6 cm



32 A Woman Painter, 1957–58 Oil on canvas 16 × 14 inches; 40.5 × 35.5 cm



Lucian Freud at Lansdowne Terrace, Bloomsbury, circa 1940

Notes on the pictures and the times, 1940–58 Catherine Lampert

This exhibition spans the period, in Lucian Freud’s words, from when he proceeded solely “by staring at my subject matter and examining it closely” to the mid-1950s, when he wanted to “free myself from this way of working”. The paintings that date from 1948–52 reveal a pearly, light-sensitive modelling that had replaced the more frontal approach of earlier pictures. Several of these are portraits that have been absent from public view for decades, and Freud remembered the sitters (or the memory of a semi-commissioned situation) with some misgiving (nos 28, 29). But the works prove extraordinary, having in common a hint of a life of privilege brought to a precipice; the canvas showing through the thinly applied paint lends a very subtle measure of recoil. By the time of A Woman Painter 1957–58, Freud had made a choice, still evident fifty years later, that rather than look for likeness he would ‘portray’ the subject, “It’s to do with the feeling of individuality and the intensity of the regard and the focus on the specific”.1 * * * With Lucian Freud (born 8 December 1922) there is no single ‘story’ of the early years, one that would provide the hagiography of an artist whose on-going achievement is, and remains, disturbing and profound. In the 1940s and 1950s there are often different levels of accomplishment for different genres, with a general bias towards drawing

and fine detail. Painted when he was seventeen, the portrait of Stephen Spender (1940) places the subject between a stretcher on the left and a window on the right in a top floor room Freud used as a studio at 2 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead.2 Spender, who had already sat to other artists, seems eager to impress. Nearly every stroke is weighted with a different, rich colour, and there is evidence of some difficulty in getting the poet’s long, craggy skull to acquire flesh and bulk. One might have expected Freud to build on this achievement as a portraitist, instead he moved towards something vaguely primitive and taken from recall. The Refugees (1940–42), for example, is composed of seven misfits oddly scaled from old to young, the coastal scene behind them taken from the Baltic Sea where he spent childhood summers. Freud tried to overcome what he regarded as a lack of natural ability by concentrating on very local description and by enforced stillness that aided the linear bias. In Dead Heron the spread wings form a dramatic heraldic shape laid on top of a rich ochre field, one feathery treasure abutting the next, along the periphery are devilish, frayed feelers. In Freud’s portraits of these years the youthful people who live inside rather minimal lines (and suits) project an ‘aura’, often a nonchalant sexiness with their imaginative traits expressed in details, like the tufts of hair. Some hold an ‘attribute’,


such as a quivering mouse or a velvety flower, or wear an item of clothing that is as personal as their gaze. One notices a tendency to perfectly shaped lips (Edith Sitwell nicknamed a man often drawn, Peter Watson, ‘trumpet lips’). Textured Ingres paper adds a svelte look to the head of the poet David Gascoyne (no. 13) and to Pauline Tennant, the girl with a tailored shirt (no. 17). Freud lived in London during the war except for the three month period in 1941 when he signed on as a merchant seaman (he survived thanks to a near miss when German aircraft attacked the convoy on its way to Nova Scotia). Spending a week in Scotland in 1943, Freud drew with pen and ink the view from the window at the Drumnadrochit Hotel overlooking Loch Ness (no. 2). On the back of a comic postcard sent to Elsie Nicholson, he wrote: “I am staying at a really hot stuff tip-top hop-scotch luxury dive for old dames. And the country! It’s really a fit subject for a new Fiztpatrick [sic] the voice of the globe travel talk films in technicolour [sic]. Very spectacular and exciting beautiful when it’s sunny”.3 Conjuring up the words of James Fitzpatrick, “Now I’m taking you to ….”, our eye alights on the distinct registers of this panoramic Scottish scene. The large fur in the foreground looks like it might soon metamorphose into a stuffed animal, the two trees with their extended branch-arms bow very slightly to the loch while the boulders on the shore line up as if a chorus in the orchestra’s pit.


The set-up of objects on a window-sill for Cacti and Stuffed Bird (1943) was devised by the painter and teacher Cedric Morris and Freud’s drawing was executed on a short visit to his place, Benton End, in Suffolk. It was reproduced in the May 1943 issue of Horizon; on the page the succulent volumes seem pierced by oblique razor sharp spines, drawn as if ‘accents’. This maverick perfection is developed in Scotch Thistle (1944), another country still life, composed in Dorset the following year. Three cuttings balance on their sharp points with balletic grace, leaving faint shadows that register on the table top. A rather iconic precision is evident in the portraits of Lorna Wishart. John Russell, the art critic, described the head of Woman with a Tulip (1945), as uncharacteristic of the times, “if it had affinities, it was rather with the kind of portrait which had been perfected by Clouet, and by Corneille de Lyon, five hundred years earlier. Only the dimension of disquiet – the broody, unresolved, divided look – was peculiar to our age”.4 In July 1946 Freud took a room in Paris at the Hotel d’Isley on the rue Jacob, which he kept for some time.5 Olivier Larronde and Jean-Pierre Lacloche were living in the room next door, and a painting and several drawings of caged birds were done that summer. On this first visit and during the next years there were opportunities to visit Picasso (“seven or eight times”). Indeed, the artist John Craxton who had preceded him to

Paris in early 1946, quickly formed the habit of eating with “Picasso & Co in a little restaurant called Le Catalan” (in a letter he excitedly told Freud that Pierre Loeb might show their work at Galerie Pierre).6 Freud met-up with Giacometti regularly (and posed for drawings that probably no longer exist) and was friendly with Annette and Diego. At the end of the summer he left for Greece to join John Craxton on the island of Poros. The two artists stayed in the house of a widow. Observed in the strong Mediterranean light, one eye of Craxton (no. 16) is painted brown, the other blue, the forehead and right ear register pink sunburn. A few years ago Craxton recalled their months together. “It was a period when L made some of his most limpid and luminous paintings, the lemons; the portrait I have and his own self-portrait in the Tate all belong to this time. It was also the end of us both working in close proximity”.7 The poet Brian Howard wrote to a mutual friend in February 1947, “Freud has just come back from Greece via Paris and echoes what you say about the tremendous intellectual activity”, and then turned to gossip about Denham Fouts, who is “now in P’s [Peter Watson] flat, so Lucian says, giving slightly too elegant sissy parties.”8 When Freud returned to Paris that summer, he was in the company of his new girlfriend Kitty Garman. The first portrait of Kitty, Girl in a Dark Jacket (1947), uses her wiry brown hair and the lapels on the sombre bus

conductor’s jacket to frame her beautifully contoured, pale ivory features and white jersey. Writing from Paris in July 1947, Garman sends her mother a parcel with a photograph of a recently finished portrait of her and says they’ve moved to an agreeable, rather expensive room at the Hôtel Pas de Calais where their hummingbird has escaped from its cage.”9 That July André Breton’s Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme opened at the Galerie Maeght. The installation had been devised by Duchamp (who remained in New York) in collaboration with the architect Frederick Kiesler. The result was as extravagant as any contemporary spectacle. After a ‘hall of Superstitions’ came the Rain Room where curtains of coloured water fell down on artificial grass and the visitors went around a green baize billiard table supporting the wonderfully spooky bronze sculpture by Maria Martins, the artist Duchamp was in love with during these years. The cover of the limited edition catalogue was a foam-rubber breast mounted on velvet, with the title ‘Prière de Toucher’. Freud, Kitty and friends attended the private view; in a letter to Méraud Guinness he reports that ‘The Surrealist exhibition is very dark and rainy and beautifully built and arranged like the ideal home exhibition”.10 Many letters sent by British artists and writers during the post-war years are filled with references to the difficulty of transport and currency restrictions, and to the


Lucian Freud, London, circa 1958


psychological pressures imparted by one’s class and sexuality as well as habitual references to existentialism and nihilism. Freud’s few communications carry none of these anxieties, no adoring references to the celebrated artists he had met, or even any particular complaints (except about the summer heat in Paris). He recently remembered, admiringly, that the French not only scorned foreigners’ attempts to speak their language, they demonstrated “a real malevolence…they would just treat you with absolute contempt”.11 After a first visit to Aixen-Provence in August 1947, Freud wrote to thank his hostess and spoke of missing “the most delicious, luxurious and tranquil sequence of days” that “pass in dreamy winy harmony. Parador [the villa] has an atmosphere of mystery and of content”.12 He asked if he might borrow the house in the autumn, to return to paint in the company of Graham Sutherland and his wife.13 Lemon Sprig was most likely made in the south of France, as was the later still-life with aloe plant and large sardine (1948–49). To the left of this set-up is the corner of the louvered shutter from the balcony window at the Hôtel Welcome in Villefranche-sur-Mer where Freud stayed that winter.14 Shadows, dualities and edginess give the distinct intimation that in his experience of lookinglong at objects, the artist doesn’t need ‘expressionist’ exaggeration to conjure up personal turmoil. Witnessing what Giacometti, Balthus and, of course, Picasso

were doing, it must have seemed that their work was so intelligent and inventive that taking extreme visual possession of one’s subject matter was more relevant than questions of style, abstraction or social relevance. For example, occupying a Paris studio in the cour de Rohan, Balthus was painting some of the most austere and subliminal works of his lifetime. He explained that his studies of “undressed young girls” were not intended as erotic, rather he hoped to surround them by “a halo of silence and depth, as if creating vertigo around them”.15 Freud published an artist’s statement in Encounter magazine in 1954 in which he declares that “purely abstract forms” provoke in him no more than an “aesthetic emotion”, something truly disturbing must come from an obsession so intense that the artist’s “feelings become infectious”. “A painter’s tastes must grow out of what so obsesses him in life that he never has to ask himself what is suitable for him to do in art”.16 Another way of judging Freud’s independence from expectations (and NeoRomanticism) is to look at the drawings he made at the end of the 1940s for reproduction in illustrated books. A number reduce tone and light into hundreds of tiny stippled marks and woodcut-like patterns for hair and cloth; the heads are isolated on the page, devoid of context. They predict the unnerving prints that came much later, like Head and Shoulders of a Girl (1990), in so far as the pen is handled like an etching


Lucian Freud and Caroline Blackwood, Madrid, May 1953


needle, very deliberately and rhythmically. One set of drawings (made in 1947) was intended to be illustrations for Marie Bonaparte’s tale about betrayal and captivity, Flyda of the Seas. The drawing titled Arvid, for which the self-portrait in jersey Man at Night (no. 22) is a near match, depicts a handsome man whose sparkling irises, if one reads the story, are meant to cast a spell. Kitty’s features are “the milk-white beauty” Flyda (no. 21) while the image of Anne Dunn’s reclining head (not in the exhibition) must be intended for the temptress Gina, “slender and lovely and gay”.17 Unfortunately John Rodker, Bonaparte’s publisher, rejected these drawings. Shortly after, Rex Warner, the writer whose post-war novels were based on ancient Greece and Rome, asked Freud to make illustrations for the story of Ulysses. McGibbon and Kee never published the book but five of Freud’s drawings were shown at the Hanover Gallery in 1950, his friend Charley posing as Hercules as well as the Drawing for Narcissus (no. 23). One of the paintings in the same exhibition most remarked upon was the Sleeping Nude, and in the next show in 1952 appeared two more full-length figures Girl with a White Dog and the lesser known Girl in a Blanket. Freud never worked with the selfeffacement of William Coldstream, an artist he knew well at the time. Coldstream’s Seated Nude (1952–53) accords with his idea of making ‘a life painting of the strictest kind’ though the particular candor of the model

Miss Mond triumphs. Henrietta Moraes (no. 27) wraps around her back and folded arms a thin blanket, so that light from the tall window in Delamere Terrace diffuses the volumes of her large-breasted, seated figure. The result is unforgettable and slightly offputting, as if the model is trying very hard to be a muse and the artist is finding the thoughts in his head and life on the Paddington canal more diverting. For the smaller pictures of these years, Freud set his easel so close to the subjects that the surface of the painting acts as a thin barrier to what’s underneath – Ann Fleming’s pinched chin, Caroline Blackwood’s sideward stare, Napper Dean Paul’s opium pallor and silverpoint strands of hair (no. 30). The backgrounds change around 1956 from neutral to more acid shades, the temperature rises, while Freud’s exploratory touch is like a counterpoint to Francis Bacon’s ambition to “paint like Velázquez but with the texture of a hippopotamus skin”.18 Describing A Woman Painter (1957–58), the head of Elinor Bellingham-Smith, Lawrence Gowing imagined the artist’s gaze moving “under the eyelid to its delicate lining, raised a little away from the eyeball, one thinks only of how undefended the woman is, portrayed in a mood of resignation”.19 Bruce Bernard saw his friend seeming “on the verge of tears, as she so often was”.20 Frank Auerbach recalls seeing the painting on the easel when he went to Delamere Terrace, a street located in a rather derelict part of Paddington, for a


special dinner (the oysters opened by the waiter from Wheeler’s). Bellingham-Smith appeared generous and relaxed as did the other guests, Eduardo Paolozzi, Matthew Smith, Bindy Lambton, Isabel Lambert [Rawsthorne] and Francis Bacon.21


Sebastian Smee, ‘A Late-Night Conversation with Lucian Freud’, Freud at Work 2006, p.33


Looking at the picture recently, Freud recalled that the work was painted in the room he used in his parent’s house at 2, Maresfield Gardens, probably in 1940. Lucian Freud to the textile designer E.Q. Nicholson, undated, TGA977. Under an elephant whose head is a mirror, is the line, ‘Pack your trunk and come here for a bit’, Wilton’s comic postcards, with drawn additions by F. The message finished, “I’ll probably have to stay on for two months afterwards and wash dishes, Love Looch”. The American film director, James Fitzpatrick wrote, produced, and narrated many of his films. MGM distributed a series of “Fitzpatrick Traveltalks” and “The Voice of the Globe”, as did Paramount. The hallmarks of Fitzpatrick’s films were Technicolor photography. Freud went to Scotland with Nigel MacDonald (a school friend of Michael Wishart) and Betty Shaw Lawrence. Previous accounts of the early work have mentioned Freud’s attraction to children’s adventure stories, for example, those illustrated by Arthur Ransome, and to the graphic detail of Dırer and Bruegel. John Russell, Lucian Freud, Hayward Gallery, Arts Council of Great Britain 1974, p.13 The artist. See also Michael Wishart, High Diver, London 1977. John Craxton to Lucian Freud, c. January 1946, artist’s archives John Craxton to Elena Guena, recent postcard, taped to back of work. He had been invited to Greece by Peter Norton. Brian Howard to Méraud Guinness, 18 February 1947, referring to Denham Fouts. TGA 9326/1/29 Kitty Garman to Kathleen Garman,“Here is my portrait which I do so hope you will like. We stayed 2 nights in a cupboard on a level with the top spire of Saint Sulpice ...we are in a very nice hotel rather expensive with flowery wall-paper and a bird cage


* * * Baudelaire’s narrator in The Poor Child’s Toy is an artist who looks out and “standing in the midst of nettles and thistles, sees another child, pitifully black and grimy, one of those urchin-pariahs whose beauty an impartial eye would discover… Through the symbolic bars separating two worlds, highroad and mansion, the poor child was showing the rich child his own toy, which the latter was scrutinising breathlessly, as though it had been some rare and unheard of object. Well this toy that the grimy little brat was shaking, teetering and turning in a box covered with teeth wire, was a living rat! The parents out of economy, I suppose, had taken the toy from nature itself. And the two children were laughing together like brothers, with teeth of identical whiteness.”22

4 5 6 7

8 9


10 11 12


14 15



(we had a humming-bird in it but it flew away) and a fuchsia plant. Mike [Wishart] & Tony [Hyndman] are near here & also Pegg Gugg [enheim] – rather terrifying but you can imagine that with her & Tony, Miky has much food for happiness & anxiety….…. went to the opening of the surrealist exhibition, water was pouring from the ceilings!”Archives, Walsall Art Gallery. See Notes on subjects. Lucian Freud to Méraud Guinness, summer 1947, 20 Delamere Terrace, TGA 9326/1/1/5 Sebastian Smee Freud at Work, London 2006, p.25 Freud to Méraud Guinness, postcard TGA 9326/1/1/4 sent from the Hôtel Pas de Calais on the rue Saint Pères. The Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme opened at the Galerie Maeght. See Martin Hammer, ‘A Precarious Tension of Opposites’, Graham Sutherland. Landscapes, War Scenes, Portraits, 1927–50, London 2005 for a discussion of Graham Sutherland’s views in this period. The catalogue quotes Sutherland’s letter to Robert Melville, 20 November 1948, (Robert Melville papers, Tate Archives) stating that English painting is “entirely off the rails” with the exception of “Lucian F. miles ahead of the rest although he’s horribly restricted in ideas. Francis B. has done two remarkable canvases – depressing & attenuated – but his painting I think real & containing the germ of recovery & the possibility of a post-Picasso development”. Sutherland owned no. 15. TGA9326/1/1/2 and the artist Balthus, Vanished Splendors: A Memoir, New York 2001, p.37. See a description of the nude of Laurence Bataille in The Simon Sainsbury Bequest to Tate and the National Gallery, London 2008. ‘Some thoughts on painting’, Encounter, July 1954, vol.3, no. 1, pp.23–24. Elsewhere he has spoken of his admiration for Mondrian and De Kooning, not seeing their imagery as ‘abstract’. Rodker disliked Freud’s drawings and the book was published with colour lithographic plates by John Buckland Wright. Marie Bonaparte, Flyda of the

18 19 20 21


Seas, 30 copies on hand-made paper (Imago) 1950. Kitty Garman was a brunette and Anne Dunn blonde but the correspondence between the story and the drawings is loose. Francis Bacon,’Survivors’, Time, 21 November 1949, p.44 Lawrence Gowing, Lucian Freud, London 1982 p.112. Bruce Bernard, Lucian Freud, ed. Bernard & Birdsall, London 1996, p.14 Frank Auerbach in conversation with the author, June 2008. The reproduction in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, 14 June 1958 gives the date of this work as 1957–58 and it is one of the “new portraits” in ‘Mr. Lucian Freud’s Arresting Portraits’, anon., The Times, 20 March 1958., it has been incorrectly dated 1954 and certainly was not begun before 1956. Charles Baudelaire, Paris Spleen, (1869), New York 1970, p.36


Notes on the subjects Catherine Lampert

“if you don’t know them, it can only be like a travel book.” Lucian Freud, 19741

One gets a particular version of the period, and the contrasts of luxury and depredation from letters and memoirs, especially those written by someone like John Richardson with a gift for description. After the Gargoyle Club he and his friends went: “In quest of hotter music, we would go to the darker, loucher Caribbean Club, where we would find more stimulating company – Lucian Freud or Michael Wishart or some wild girls we had known at the Slade – and boogie the night away…I picked up my first and last whore”.2 * * *

Stephen Spender, circa 1940

At the end of 1939 Lucian Freud and David Kentish, both occasional students at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing, rented a cottage in the village of Capel Curig in Snowdonia in Wales. Stephen Spender (1909–95) first arrived as a guest for a weekend in December, with his friend Tony Hyndman, and then came for a longer period in January 1940: “He paints all day and I write. Lucian is the most intelligent person I have met since I first knew Auden at Oxford, I think. He looks like Harpo Marx and is amazingly talented, and also wise, I think.”3 Spender had by then a considerable reputation as a writer and poet, and with the thought of becoming a painter as well, had

joined the Euston Road School in 1937. William Coldstream’s diary describes a party at Benjamin Britten’s flat in January 1939 when the guests listened to one of Spender’s poems made into a song: “one full of slightly embarrassing & very strong feelings, very personal, very big & over life size in emotion but very original and striking”.4 Spender had given the odd lecture at Bryanston school, where he had earlier met Freud and around 1940, James Iliffe. In January 1942, Spender, a fireman during the war, was posted to Hampstead and moved into an attic flat in the house Ernst Freud rented at 2 Maresfield Gardens. Spender’s new wife Natasha soon changed the locks to prevent Lucian Freud using his own room.5 Lorna Wishart (1911–2000), the subject of Woman with a Tulip and no. 10 was described in her obituary in The Times as “the youngest and most exquisite of seven striking Garman girl daughters of Dr Walter Chancellor Garman”. At the age of sixteen she married Ernest Wishart, a wealthy publisher and communist. Their son Michael Wishart (1928–96) was born the following year and the drawing of him, Man with Folded Arms, was made in 1944, the year of his first exhibition at the Archer Gallery. Lorna Wishart provided the Dead Heron which she had discovered in a marsh, whereas the zebra’s head that appears in several pictures by Freud she purchased from a taxidermist’s in Piccadilly.


Pauline Tennant (born 1929) (nos 17, 18) was David Tennant’s exceptionally beautiful daughter (her photograph was on the cover of Picture Post, 28 February 1942). She played the young countess in the film Queen of Spades (1949) which starred Anton Walbrook and Edith Evans. The first poems of David Emery Gascoyne (1916–2001) were created in the ‘automatic’ Surrealist manner and in 1933 he went to Paris where he became close to André Breton and Max Ernst. Gascoyne co-curated the International Surrealist Exhibition with Roland Penrose and Herbert Read at the Burlington Galleries in 1936. Speaking of the poems in his third collection, published in 1943, Cyril Connolly claimed that they “take us in their chill, calm, sensitive language as near the edge of the precipice as a human being is able to go and still turn back” (quoted in The Times obituary, 28 November 2001). William Feaver described the themes pursued by the painter Gerald Wilde (1905–86) as “the onset of panic – and through the looking glass – the loss of meaning”, remarking that the Blitz inspired him as well as destroying much of his work. The gaunt figure of Wilde was a familiar presence in Soho and the quality of his work was recognized in periodic shows, like that at the Hanover Gallery in 1948 and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1955. He resumed painting in the 1970s after electric shock treatment and analysis.


Peter Watson (1908–1956), the urbane, wealthy collector of modern art, one of the first to buy work by Francis Bacon, owned pictures by Miró, Dalí, Soutine and De Chirico. He backed Horizon, the magazine he conceived along with Cyril Connolly and Spender, and in 1947 was one of the founders of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Before the war Watson lived on the Rue du Bac in Paris; later he introduced English artists to Marie-Laure de Noailles, Jean Cocteau and others in their set. He acted as patron to several artists, providing studios for John Craxton (born 1922) (no. 16) and Freud at 14 Abercorn Place, in St John’s Wood, in 1942–43. Although he disapproved of the taste of its director, the excitable Belgian artist and promoter of surrealism, E.L.T. Mesens, the monthly stipend Freud received from the London Gallery allowed him to travel. Apart from Watson, a number of people Freud knew in London had lived in Paris. Tony Gandarillas, the charming Chilean diplomat, had been a friend of Christopher Wood and through his aunt Eugenia Errazuriz became the owner of Picasso’s 1913 fresco Ma Jolie. Peggy Guggenheim asked Freud to exhibit in the gallery she had opened in 1938 on Cork Street, Guggenheim Jeune, the predecessor to the Art of this Century gallery in New York which had close associations with Duchamp and Jackson Pollock. Méraud Guinness was the daughter of the rich financier Benjamin

Pauline Tennant, October 1945


Guinness. A painter, she took lessons from Francis Picabia in Mougins, lived in Paris and Aix-en-Provence and married the Chilean artist Alvaro Guevara. Watson was an advocate of the Mediterranean as a haven from the austerity and grimness of post-war London, as he told Craxton (who agreed with this opinion and settled in Crete): “The only peace possible is to get oneself into the sort of island you are in…any artist needs the protection to strengthen himself against the horrors to be faced later on.”6 The first owner of the painting of lemons in this exhibition (no. 19) was Princess Marie Bonaparte (1882–1962) – at the time of the Venice Biennale in 1954 when it was shown in the British Pavilion it belonged to her daughter Princess Eugénie of Greece. Bonaparte was a prominent French psychoanalyst and devoted disciple and friend of Sigmund Freud (she helped settle him in London near the end of his life). As the wife of Prince George of Greece and Denmark, she was related to the English royal family. Amongst other books Marie Bonaparte wrote Myths of War in 1947, followed by the story Flyda of the Seas, both published by John Rodker at Imago. Jacob Epstein and Kathleen Garman (eldest sister of Lorna Wishart) had three children. The youngest Kitty Garman (born 1926) was raised mainly by her maternal grandmother, studied art and married Freud in 1948. Their


first daughter was born in July of that year, the second in 1952. Apart from periods spent in Paris and the South of France, Kitty and Freud rented rooms in Dublin in 1951. The parrots and the cage (no. 15) belonged to Olivier Larronde (1927–66). His first volume of poems Les barricades mystérieuses was published in 1946. The ink drawing of a crazy-looking bird (no. 14) was intended to be a bookplate for The Bird in the Gilded Cage. The second volume Rien voilà l’ordre (1959) was illustrated by Giacometti who proclaimed of Larronde, “…he had never heard anyone speak as well about sculpture and painting, adding that no one knew how to talk better than he.”7 Larronde’s boyfriend, Jean-Pierre Lacloche, remembered the home they shared, on an island on the Seine at the foot of the ancient Château-Gaillard, and specifically their animal companions – dogs, monkeys, birds, a scorpion, Kado, a miniature greyhound who didn’t like women, and in this context, “We briefly owned a falcon, that Lucian Freud let go over London”8 Sir Brian (Napper) Dean Paul (1904–72) (no. 30), a baronet, came from a celebrated family (mentioned in Gustave Doré’s London. A Pilgrimage; he observed that in England not only the poor went to jail, also members of good families). His mother was Irène Poldowski, the composer and pianist and his sister Brenda, a good-looking and dangerous girl. After her convictions for possession of

David Kentish and Stephen Spender in Wales, 1940, photograph by Lucian Freud


morphine, she emerged from the hospital ward at Holloway gaol and Dean Paul helped her write, My First Life, a Biography (1935). Nicknamed ‘Napper’ because he was always tight and taking naps, he counted as one of the ‘beautiful people’. To David Tennant’s Greek themed party at the Gargoyle Club he wore surgical rubber, torn to expose his body. After the war Dean Paul worked sometimes as a mural painter and designer, took opium, and begged money to support his sister’s continuing drug addiction. In her autobiography Henrietta Moraes (1931–99) gives an account of beginning a relationship with Freud while dancing together at the Gargoyle at a time when it was frequented by Cyril Connolly, Brian Howard, Michael Wishart, Francis Wyndham, John Minton, Francis Bacon and others. In 1951 she began posing at Delamere Terrace (no. 27). “I was sitting on a bench loosely wrapped in a grey blanket and in the background was the canal with three little ducks swimming along”; she and Freud watched “the contorted figures of meths drinkers creep past the café window”.9 Alexis von Rosenberg, Second Baron de Redé (1922–2004) (no. 28) left memoirs, published in 2005: “People say I am an arbiter of taste...It takes people a long time to know how to live…He too led the bachelor life…It’s hard to love someone on whom you rely financially….”.10 His money came from


his Chilean protector, Arturo Lopez-Wilshaw, ‘the richest man in Europe’, who maintained a married home in Neuilly and set up Redé in what became the sumptuously refurbished 17th century Hôtel Lambert on the Ile Saint Louis. He was installed there by the time Freud arrived to spend most of 1953 living at the Hôtel La Louisianne with Caroline Blackwood. Redé gave a long remembered Bal des Têtes in 1956, when the Duchess of Windsor, Charlie Bestegui and Elsa Maxwell judged who was wearing the most imaginative head-dress, several provided by the young Yves Saint-Laurent. The photograph of Freud with Ann Fleming and Frederick Ashton is most likely from a Headdress Ball given by the Royal College of Art.11 Duff Cooper described Christian Bérard (1902–49): he had “greasy strands of hair down to his shoulders, his velvet bags openflyed”.12 Bérard, a set and costume designer, worked with Jean Cocteau, Edward James and Louis Jouvet. He also painted and drew. His boyfriend was Boris Kochno, the writer and ballet librettist. Freud’s drawing of Bérard (no. 24) was made shortly after he left a detoxification spell at the Saint Mandé Sanatorium, and six weeks before he collapsed during the rehearsal of a Molière play and died.

Alexis de Redé at the Hotel Lambert, 1942, photograph by Cecil Beaton

Lady Anne Evelyn Beatrice Cavendish (born 1927) (no. 26), the daughter of the Tenth Duke of Devonshire, married Michael


Lambert Tree in 1949. She founded the charity Fine Cell Work and the couple lived at Mereworth Castle, Kent in the 1950s. The Devonshires were the subjects of six portraits by Freud. Colin Tennant, Third Baron Glenconner (born 1926) (no. 29) spotted the portrait of his cousin Caroline Blackwood (Girl in Bed) in the February 1954 issue of Vogue and decided to purchase it. He persuaded Freud to paint his portrait: “It was a great experience for me. Lucian is a brilliant talker, captivating both physically and intellectually to both men and women. Lucian was exciting, always chasing after a girl, gambling and with a reputation of existing on the fringes of gangland London. His viewpoint was refreshingly original to someone like me with a traditional and somewhat unchallenging upbringing of Eton and Oxford”.13 Christian Bérard, at 2 Rue Casimir-Delavigne, Paris, 1948, photograph by Boris Kochno Ann Fleming (1913–81) had sat for Freud in 1950 and in her diaries she described the summer of 1954: “All headlines of yellow press devoted to his [Tennant’s] visit to Balmoral for Princess Margaret’s birthday and inferring an immediate engagement, he had to be smuggled onto the London Express….Lucian returned from holidaying in Menton with Lady O. and B.…he was in tremendous spirits and as Colin likes to sit to him from dawn till dark I suspect Lucian of being a strong influence in the royal drama”.14


Fleming gave a party after Freud’s first show at the Marlborough opened in March 1958; the gallery’s clientele “were surprised and alarmed to find themselves rubbing shoulders with Teddy boys wearing day-glo socks and flat-chested flat-heeled young women in torn polo sweaters”.15 The art critic Neville Wallis saw in the portrait of the painter Elinor Bellingham-Smith (1906–88) (no. 32) “a delicate, unobtrusive patterning of pale brick-red and whitish tints with green shadows… where emotional intensity is enhanced by a slight symmetry”. Most writers were less complimentary about these pictures, amongst them a recent study of Stephen Spender, A Poet (no. 31).16 For John Berger these pictures resembled the covers of Time magazine, “like touched-up coloured photographs of rotten apples” coming from the artist’s “jaundiced view”.17 BellinghamSmith showed throughout the fifties at the Leicester Galleries and John, her son by Rodrigo Moynihan, describes her state of mind when being painted in his book Restless Lives: “the facial lines, almost-torn mouth, haunted eyes, and chopped, shortish hair, so unlike her couture creations by her beloved André [hairdresser] at Harrods, revealed so much mounting tension above the half circle of her roll-up jersey”. He waited to collect his mother in the evening, looking up at the “weird almost sinister light of his [Freud’s] stark Paddington studio’.18


Lawrence Gowing, Lucian Freud, London 1982, p.56 John Richardson, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper, New York 1999, p.16 3 Spender to Mary Elliott, John Sutherland, Stephen Spender. A Literary Life, London 2005, p.263. Letters from Freud to Cedric Morris describe his time in Wales, December 1949 – February 1950. Freud mentions the rumour that Morris’ school might move to London after Christmas, and continues: “We have been painting very hard until this weekend when we had some visitors. Tony [Hyndman] and Stephen [Spender] and another man”. He reports that they intend to come London on the 18th for Christmas; their return from Wales c. late February 1940 was delayed for lack of the train fare. Cedric Morris papers, Tate Archives and artist. See also Lucian Freud Drawings 1940, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York 2003 4 Bruce Laughton, William Coldstream, London 2004, p.59 5 Stephen Spender, ‘Commentary 1940–5’, Spender Journals 1939–83, edit. John Goldsmith, London 1985, p.58 and Ibid., Sutherland, p.286 6 David Mellor, Paradise Lost: The Neo-Romantic Imagination, Barbican Art Gallery, London 1987, p.43, note 11. 7 Jean-Pierre Lacloche, ‘Brève vie d’Olivier Larronde’, Olivier Larronde. Oeuvres Poétiques complètes, Paris 2002, p.30. The Bird in a Cage was reproduced in Richard Buckle’s magazine Ballet in January 1948. 8 Ibid, p.27 9 Henrietta Moraes, Henrietta, London 1994, p.28–29. 10 Alexis von Redé, Alexis. The Memoirs of the Baron de Redé, edited by Hugo Vickers, London 2005, pp. 156, 159, etc. 11 Fionn Morgan to author on the photograph in her mother’s collection 12 Redé 2005, p.46. 1 2


13 Tennant, catalogue of sale 5895, Christie’s, London, 11 December 1997, p.18. 14 Ann Fleming to Joan Rayner and Patrick Leigh Fermor The Letters of Ann Fleming, edited by Mark Amory, London 1985, 23 August 1954, p.141. Oonagh, Lady Oranmore & Browne, was mother of the young Garech Browne whom Freud painted in 1956. Ann Fleming’s portrait by Freud is on show in ‘For Your Eyes Only, Ian Fleming and James Bond’, the Imperial War Museum until l March 2009. 15 Ibid, p.216 16 Neville Wallis, ‘Unsparing Portraitist’, The Observer, 30 March 1958 17 John Berger, ‘Success and value’, New Statesman, 5 April 1958, vol.55, no. 1412, p.434 18 John Moynihan, Restless Lives. The Bohemian World of Rodrigo and Elinor Moynihan, London 2002, p.169

At the Headress Ball, Lucian Freud, Ann Fleming and Frederick Ashton, circa 1955


Selected exhibitions 1944–58

List of works

‡ indicates a ‘one-person’ exhibition/or single room. Group exhibitions are those that included works in the current exhibition.

The references to exhibitions cover only the period 1940–58

New Paintings and Drawings by Lucian Freud, Felix Kelly and Julian Trevelyan 1944, Lefevre Gallery, London, November – December 1944‡

British painting 1925–1950: first anthology. Arts Council, New Burlington Galleries, London and Manchester City Art Gallery, Summer 1951

1 Stephen Spender, 1940 Oil on canvas 24 × 19a inches; 61 × 49.5 cm

Recent Paintings by Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland and Francis Bacon, Robert Colquhoun, John Craxton, Lucian Freud, Robert MacBryde, Julian Trevelyan, Lefevre Gallery, February 1946 ‡

Lucian Freud: new paintings; Martin Froy; first exhibition, Hanover Gallery, London, 6 May – 14 June 1952‡

2 Loch Ness from Drumnadrochit, 1943 Pen and ink 14e × 17e in: 37.2 × 45.4 cm Lefevre 1944, no. 23

Recent paintings and drawings by John Craxton and Lucian Freud, London Gallery, 28 October – 29 November 1947‡ La jeune peinture en Grande Bretagne, Galerie René Drouin, Paris, organised by the British Council, 23 January – 21 February 1948 Four Exhibitions James Gleeson and Robert Klippel; Lucian Freud, John Pemberton, Cawthra Mulock, London Gallery, London, 9 November – 4 December 1948‡ Lucian Freud Recent Works, Roger Viellard Engravings, Hanover Gallery, London, 18 April – 27 May 1950‡ London – Paris, New trends in painting and sculpture. An Exhibition of the Work of 16 Artists, Institute of Contemporary Arts at New Burlington Galleries, 7 March – 4 April 1950


Exhibition of works by Nicholson, Bacon, Freud; “The unknown political prisoner”; prize-winning maquette and related studies and Butler; recent artists’ lithographs, British Pavilion, 27th Biennale, Venice, 19 June – 17 October 1954‡ Lucian Freud; paintings, Marlborough Fine Art, London, March – April 1958‡

3 Cacti and Stuffed Bird, 1943 Pencil and blue pastel on card 16l × 21 inches; 41 × 53.3 cm Lefevre 1944, no. 11 (lent by Ian Phillips) 4 Boy in Bed with Fruit, 1943 Pen and ink 13 × 8e inches; 33 × 22.3 cm 5 Gerald Wilde, 1943 Oil on panel 12 × 9 inches; 30.5 × 23 cm 6 Gorse Sprig, 1944 Conté, pencil and crayon on Ingres paper 18 × 12 inches; 45.8 × 30.5 cm Lefevre 1944, no. 18

7 Scotch Thistle, July 1944 Conté, pencil and crayon 9 × 13 inches; 22.9 × 33 cm Lefevre 1944, no. 15. Reproduced in Apollo 1945 8 Chicken in a Bucket, 1944 Graphite and coloured pencil 15 × 15 inches; 38 × 38 cm 9 Man with Arms Folded, 1944 Conté and chalk on brown paper 11 × 17e; 28 × 45.5 cm Dated 20 1 1944 The Devonshire Collections and the Chatsworth Settlement 10 Head of a Woman, 1943–44 Conté and chalk on grey paper 18n × 11o inches; 47.3 × 30.1 cm 11 Dead Heron, 1945 Oil on canvas 19d × 29l inches; 49 × 74 cm Lefevre 1946, no. 32; Drouin 1948, no. 6; Venice 1954, no. 67; Marlborough 1958, no. 3



12 Woman with a Tulip, 1945 Oil on panel 9 × 5 inches; 22.8 × 12.7 cm Marlborough, no. 2

17 Girl’s Head, 1946 Conté and crayon, coloured chalk on Ingres paper 17e × 15e inches; 45.1 × 40 cm

22 Man at Night (Self Portrait), 1947–48 Pen, ink and conté 20d × 16e inches; 51.5 × 42.5 cm London Gallery 1948, no. 4

27 Girl in a Blanket, 1952 Oil on canvas 39a × 29a inches; 100.5 × 75 cm Hanover 1952, no. 4

13 Head of a Poet, circa 1945 Conté and chalk on Ingres paper 25n × 13e inches; 62.5 × 35 cm

18 Head of a Girl, 1946 Oil on panel 12 × 9 inches; 30.5 × 23 cm

28 Portrait of Alexis de Redé, circa 1953 Oil on copper 5o × 3e; 15 × 9.7 cm

14 Bird in a Cage, 1946 Pen and ink 5e × 7n inches; 15 × 19.4 cm Design for bookplate for Olivier Larronde, The Bird in the Gilded Cage

19 Lemon Sprig, 1947 Oil on board 4a × 7 inches; 11.5 × 18 cm London Gallery 1947, no. 32; Venice 1954, no. 74

23 Drawing for Narcissus, circa 1948 Pen and ink 10 × 14 inches; 25.4 × 35.5 cm Finished drawing shown Hanover 1950, no. 14 On reverse Galloping Horses, 1940

15 The Birds of Olivier Larronde, 1946 Oil on panel 13e × 9e inches; 34.9 × 24.8 cm London Gallery 1947, no. 30; ICA 1950, no. 43; Marlborough 1958, no. 5

20 Girl in a Dark Jacket, 1947 Oil on panel 18a × 15 inches; 47 × 38.1 cm London Gallery 1947, no. 28; ICA 1950, no. 44; Arts Council 1951, no. 16

16 Portrait of a Man, 1946 Oil on canvas 9a × 7a inches; 24 × 19 cm London Gallery 1947, no. 38; London Gallery 1948, no. 2, as Man with Moustache

21 Head of a Girl, 1947 Ink and coloured crayon 9a × 5e inches; 24 × 14.7 cm Drawing for the illustration to Flyda by the Seas, London Gallery 1948, no. 3b

24 Christian Bérard, 1948 Black and white conté crayon on Ingres paper 16l × 17d inches; 41 × 43.8 cm Venice 1954, no. 85 25 Still Life with Aloe Plant, 1948–49 Oil on panel 8a × 11e inches; 21.5 × 29.8 cm Hanover 1950, no. 2 26 Head of a Woman, circa 1950 Oil on canvas 17e × 13e inches; 45 × 35 cm The Devonshire Collections and the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees

29 Portrait of a Man, 1954 Oil on canvas 13 × 9a inches; 33 × 24.1 cm 30 Portrait of a Man, circa 1954 Oil on canvas 14 × 9n inches; 35.5 × 24.5 cm 31 (not in exhibition) A Poet, 1957–58 Oil on canvas 13 × 8a inches; 33 × 21.6 cm Marlborough 1958, no. 16 32 A Woman Painter, 1957–58 Oil on canvas 16 × 14 inches; 40.5 × 35.5 cm Marlborough 1958, no. 13


Published by Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert 38 Bury Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BB on the occasion of the exhibition Lucian Freud: Early Works 1940–58 Loan Exhibition Curated by David Dawson and Catherine Lampert 9 October – 12 December 2008 Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert 38 Bury Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BB Telephone +44 (0)20 7839 7600 Copyright © 2008 Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert Copyright © 2008 Lucian Freud for all works and photographs unless stated otherwise ISBN 0 9547104 8 7 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission in writing from the publishers Designed by Tim Harvey Printed by Balding + Mansell

front jacket 30 Portrait of a Man, circa 1954 (detail) back jacket 19 Lemon Sprig, 1947 page 4 26 Head of a Woman, circa 1950 (detail) pages 6–7 2 Loch Ness from Drumnadrochit, 1943 (detail)


Photographic credits Pages 2 and 79 Courtesy of the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby’s Page 80 Copyright © Dimitri Kessel, Life Magazine