“The bare facts speak for themselves: born in Berlin in 1922 and now generally regarded as the greatest living English painter, espeialle of people, both female and male. The artist’s father Ernst Ludwig Freud, a German architect, was the son of the great Sigmund Freud. After his fathers’s death in London in 1970, Lucian commenced a remarkable series of paintings of his mother Lucie Brasch, around ten in all, as well as a munber of drawings and etchings. Lucie was the daughter of a prosperous grain merchant from the Baltic coast and what is perhaps one of the earliest of these head-and shoulder paintings foms the centrepiece in this exhibition. The painting seems to anticipate what is certainly the finest – and in England most controversial – portrait of Quenn Elizabetg II, a similarly small, head-and-shoulder depiction of a great, if stern, mother figure.
The faces of Freud’s sitters nearly always exude a sense of inward reflection. They seem lost in their own reverie which the artist constantly observes and describes. For Lucian Freud flattery is never an issue, nor is moral judgement nor psychological analysis. There is also no sense of caricature or mockery at the human condition either, as one might find in the work of the artist Otto Dix. Wheter the sitter is staring at the artistm looking down or even looking away, an almost inevitable sense of melancholy prevails, as the artist captures what in essence is a fleeting and ephemeral moment – paradoxically over as many as a hundred sittings – immortalised on that unpredictable path from one instance to the next. That is perhaps part of the beauty and attraction of all attempts at painting or drawing reality and the special quality of psychological portraiture.” - Exerpt from the essay by Norman Rosenthal, published in Lucian Freud: Portraits, Hirmer/Daniel Blau(ed.), Germany, 2011.