The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Lucian Freud’s New Perspectives

The Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and the National Gallery in London are presenting a retrospective on Lucian Freud's work.

Oct 9, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Painter Lucian Freud and his painting
Painter Lucian Freud and his painting, edited by Angela Davic


This first major exhibition of Lucian Freud’s work in ten years is held to mark the centenary of his birth. The exhibition, which opens in October 2022 at the National Gallery and in February 2023 in Madrid, features around 50 works that span seven decades of art by one of the most important European artists of the 20th century.


The Evolution of Freud’s Approach Through the Centuries

The Painter's Mother Resting III
The Painter’s Mother Resting III, by Lucien Freud, 1977


Freud’s fame has frequently obscured critical approaches to the artist’s work and the historical conditions in which it was created. This exhibition aims to give new perspectives on Freud’s art, with a focus on his tireless and ever-searching dedication to the medium of painting.


Visitors to The Credit Suisse Exhibition – Lucian Freud: New Perspectives will have the chance to view the astounding breadth of Freud’s work and the amazing artistic growth in one of Britain’s finest figurative painters, from his most personal images to his famed large-scale canvases.


With his portraits of the powerful, such as HM Queen Elizabeth II (2001, lent by Her Majesty the Queen from the Royal Collection), the artist established himself in the lineage of famous Court Painters like Rubens (1577-1640) or Velázquez (1599–1660). At the same time, he gave close attention to sitters who were not well-known to the public, such as his own mother, whose passing was movingly captured on camera.


Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II, 2000-01 (oil on canvas) by Freud, Lucian (1922-2011); The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2021; English, in copyright

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In his later years, Freud frequently framed his subjects in home settings as well as in his paint-spattered workshop, which doubled as both a set and a subject for his paintings. The show culminates in some of Freud’s monumental naked portraits, which luxuriate in the representation of the human form and demonstrate how his approach evolved throughout the 20th and early 21st century.


“I use the Gallery as if it were a doctor” – Freud

Lucian Freud's portrait
Reflection (Self Portrait), 1985, by Lucien Freud, The Lucian Freud Archive


The Credit Suisse Exhibition – Lucian Freud: New Perspectives will feature over 65 loans from museums and major private collections across the world, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate in London, the British Council Collection in London, and the Arts Council Collection in London.


Beginning with Becoming Freud, which features the 1945 paintings Woman with a Daffodil and Woman with a Tulip from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, United States (Private Collection), this first section highlights the artist’s early and widespread reception. It focusses on works exhibited at the renowned Venice and Sao Paolo Biennials of the 1950s, as well as on early institutional acquisitions.


A devoted admirer of European painting and regular visitor since his earliest days in London, Lucian Freud had a close association with the National Gallery. “I use the Gallery as if it were a doctor,” Freud stated. “I come for ideas and help – to look at situations within paintings, rather than whole paintings. Often these situations have to do with arms and legs, so the medical analogy is actually right.”


Lady Lambton
Head on a Green Sofa, 1960-61, Lucien Freud’s famous portrait of Lady Lambton, The Lucian Freud Archive


Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, says: “The Freud centenary exhibition at the National Gallery offers the opportunity to reconsider the artist’s achievement in the broader context of the tradition of European painting. He was a frequent visitor to the gallery whose paintings challenged and inspired him.”


The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery and the Museo Nacional Thyssen- Bornemisza, Madrid. It will be shown at the Thyssen from 14 February 2023 to 18 June 2023, following its display at the National Gallery.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.