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We all hope you are managing as well as possible
during this most difficult time.


The gallery is of course closed and all our staff are working from home. We are still very busy, responding to many enquiries and preparing for future events. We will send out newsletters and special features from time to time to keep you up to date.

Viewing Room
We will shortly complete work on a new and much improved website. One of the new features is a Viewing Room, where we will post news, special features, video, interviews and details of all our exhibitions.
 
Impressions of War And Peace: Nash and Nevinson
The long awaited exhibition will be launched online later this month. A comprehensive virtual catalogue will be available, and we will print it as soon as it is sensible to do so.
 
Online art fair
Look out for a special online art fair at the end of April which will be launched by the London Original Print Fair. You will be able to browse gallery presentations, not quite the same as a visit to the Royal Academy but even so an excellent initiative.



This is the next in our series of Special Features, favourite works chosen by gallery staff. We are all passionate about what we do and hope to be able to share in some small way our knowledge and enthusiasm.
 
Tania Sutton, a Director at the gallery and member of staff for over 25 years, has chosen Lucian Freud’s portrait of his daughter, Bella.

After graduating in the early 1990’s I began my career in the art world at print specialist Lumley Cazalet Gallery in London. I was lucky enough to meet Lucian Freud when the gallery held an exhibition of a prominent and well-connected artist of the time, who had also briefly taught Freud. Freud attended the opening, deferring to his tutor by also not staying long, thus not detracting attention away from the artist. Lucian Freud was already by then considered to be one of Britain’s foremost living artists, and is now considered to be one of the major figurative painters of the 20th century.

Bella, 1987
Etching on BFK Rives paper
Initialed in pencil and numbered from the AP edition of XV aside from the edition of 50.
69 x 57 cm (27 x 22½ in.)
Freud’s work is made in uncompromising and seemingly confrontational style. His attention to detail is at times unnerving and intense, and yet also distinctly compassionate, without being sentimental. Freud spoke of his famous grandfather Sigmund Freud, saying he would physically assess each patient before beginning a consultation.  Lucian Freud followed this principle, as he too approaches each subject with an almost analytical coolness, creating images of monumental stature, regardless of their actual scale.


 
Lucian Freud made his first etching in Paris in 1946, using the wash-basin in his hotel room as an acid bath. Five small-scale etchings date from this decade, after which Freud ceased printmaking for thirty-four years. Thereafter, beguiled by its ‘element of danger and mystery’, he steadily created an impressive contribution to the medium.1
 
Freud’s etchings from the mid-1980s onwards are distinguished by their size and technical command. Standing his copper plates upright on an easel, for the first time he was able to work with greater force and fluidity. He claimed to find etching easier than drawing, candidly acknowledging the role that re-drawing can play in printmaking. Sometimes Freud would ask the printer to erase sections, to crop an image or to scrap a final printing in favour of earlier proofs. Working closely with Marc Balakjian at Studio Prints in Kentish Town, Freud was always present at the biting and proofing of his plates.
Bella (1987), a portrait of his daughter, is defined by dense hatching, marking the head’s weight against the pillow, its wisps of hair and the face’s contours. Freud also sought further contrast within the image. Giving the printer a proof shaded with grey wash to indicate where ink should be left on the plate after wiping, the etching was reproofed until he was satisfied. Craig Hartley describes the result as ‘seductively tonal’, one of Freud’s most beautiful portraits.2



 
This is however, in no way a sentimental portrait of a much-loved daughter. The angle is unflattering, the expression dispassionate and disengaged. Yet, by revealing the effects of time, Freud has given his sitter a gravitas, an intensity, hinting with respect at the strength of character that lies beneath and imbuing the image with a sense of timelessness.
 
I find this etching utterly beguiling.

1. Lucian Freud, in Starr Figura (ed.), Lucian Freud: The Painter’s Etchings (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008), p. 15.
 2. Craig Hartley, ‘Freud and Auerbach Recent Work’, Print Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 1 (March 1992), p. 5.; also  Hartley, The etchings of Lucian Freud: a catalogue raisonné 1946-1995 (Marlborough Graphics, 1995), p. 22.

For further information about Bella and other prints available by Lucian Freud,
please contact:
tsutton@osbornesamuel.com

Head of an Irishman, 1999
Signed with initials and numbered
Edition of 36 plus 12 artist’s proofs
73.7 x 55.9 cm (29 x 22 in.)
Portrait Head, 2001
Signed with initials and numbered
Edition of 46 plus 12 artist’s proofs
59.7 x 47.3 cm (23½ x 18½ in.)
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