Lucian Freud - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, January 24, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    A gift from the artist to Nicola Bowery

  • Exhibited

    London, National Portrait Gallery, Lucian Freud: Portraits, 9 Feb - 27 May 2012 (another impression exhibited and illustrated p.194)

  • Literature

    Catherine Lampert 75
    Craig Hartley 47
    Starr Figura 72
    Sarah Howgate 118
    Bruce Bernard and Derek Birdsall 264

  • Catalogue Essay

    "If I was doling out medals for sitting, you’d get the number 1 one."
    -- Lucian Freud writing to Nicola Bowery, circa 1991

    The following five lots were gifts from Lucian Freud to Nicola Bowery (Bateman) and her then husband Leigh Bowery, the legendary performance artist whose star shone brightly during the 1980’s and early 90’s, before his untimely death from HIV on New Year’s Eve, 1994.

    The group includes four etchings; two portraits of Leigh depicted in the monumental Large Head and tender Reclining Figure. Leigh also appears in the group portrait Four Figures with Cerith Wyn Evans and Freud’s daughter, Ib holding her own daughter. The fourth etching is a rare proof impression of Freud’s portrait of Bruce Bernard.

    Nicola sat for Freud for three years and in her emotive essay, published online at, she recounts the sittings with great candour and humour:

    “One day as And the Bridegroom was being painted,
    the paint palette that Lucian had been using was
    discarded amongst the rags, so I asked Lucian if I could
    have it as to me it was a piece of art in its own right. I
    thought the paint palette was fantastic and I told him
    so; I loved the fact that it was made especially for him
    because Lucian was left-handed and painted with his
    left hand while holding the palette in his right. I loved
    that you could see the outline of his thumb. I also wanted
    a reminder of the time I sat for And the Bridegroom
    with Leigh because I wasn’t sure if Lucian would want
    to paint me again after the painting was finished, but
    fortunately, he did.”

  • Artist Biography

    Lucian Freud

    British • 1922 - 2011

    Renowned for his unflinching observations, Lucian Freud is considered one of the greatest figurative artists. He pushed the boundaries of decorum in terms of classical portraiture and nudes in order to explore his lifelong concern to honestly render the human figure, in what he called his "naked portraits."

    In his paintings, Freud's layers of impasto jabs of paint create a surprisingly delicate, translucent depiction of flesh, while his etchings employ an economy of line that implies the figure more than it illustrates it. Charismatic but irascible, Freud worked only from sitters that he knew, consistently focusing on translating his direct perceptions. The resulting portraits are redolent with a stark and evocative psychological intensity, underpinned by an unexpected tenderness towards the subject.

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Large Head

Etching, on Somerset Satin Textured paper, with full margins, the second (final) state (there was an unpublished trial state of 1 or 2 proofs before the lines on the sitter's right shoulder were cleaned).
I. 69.5 x 54.5 cm (27 3/8 x 21 1/2 in.)
S. 78.9 x 63.5 cm (31 1/8 x 25 in.)

Signed with initials, dedicated 'nicola from L.F.' and numbered 'A/P 3/12' in pencil (an artist's proof, the edition was 40), published by Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, framed.

£25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for £27,500

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 25 January 2018