His Impasto Majesty

Lucian Freud Goes to the Pompidou

One of the most recent Lucian Freud paintings to be sold—at Sotheby’s earlier this month—was a rediscovered self-portrait from 1978 of the artist with a righteous black eye. After getting into a fight with a London taxi driver, legend has it that Freud went straight home and dismissed the sitter awaiting him in order to capture his injuries in all their gruesome glory. Such moments of inspiration are characteristic of this living master, a Berlin-born long-time resident of west London, whose major retrospective at the Pompidou Center in Paris opens March 10. Expect portraits of family, friends, lovers and children, as well as those of performance artist Leigh Bowery and drag artist Divine. Benefit Supervisor Sleeping—a portrait of the model known as “Big Sue” that earned Freud the distinction of the world’s most expensive living artist when it sold for $33.6m at Christie’s in 2008—will also be on display.
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