Thursday, November 3, 2011

Man with a Blue Scarf

Lucian Freud
(8. December 1922 - 20 July 2011)

I wish that I had had a chance to meet Lucian Freud and been able to see his dancing steps while he added paint to the canvas or did his etchings. I am not completely sure if I would have liked to be the one painted...
The process was a long one and then I am not talking about hours, but more like months and perhaps years, and even then he could suddenly find that the painting was not worth completing... After you have sat for Lucian you might then discover the least flattering things about you have been thrown out for the world to discover.

But, still I wonder, how would it have been? Since, I am deeply curious and also in awe of Lucian Freud,  I think I would have rather felt it would have been a tremendous honor to be found interesting enough to be painted by him, and yes, I would have thanked yes!

Martin Gayford describes in this book wonderfully how the process of sitting for Lucian Freud was, and how he turned out to become the "Man with a blue scarf".

Bellow are some extracts from the book:

"... he keeps up a constant dance-like movement, stepping sideways, peering at me intently, measuring with the charcoal. He holds it upright, and with a characteristic motion moves it through an arc, then back to the canvas to put in another stroke."

"LF's taste in plants and landscape are very much like his preferences in human models. He likes them unadorned, as they actually are."

"What I'm most passionate about, much much more than all the rest in my profession - is the portrait, the modern portrait.... I WOULD LIKE, you see I'm far from saying that I can do all this, but anyway I'm aiming at it, I would like to do portraits which would look like apparitions to people a century later. So I don't try to do us by photographic resemblance, but by our passionate expressions." LF

Kate Moss 2002

"...with bad painters all their pictures look like self portraits, except the actual self portraits, because they have given themselves such special regard." LF

"I would wish my portraits to be of the people, not like them. Not having a look of the sitter, being them. I didn't want to get just a likeness like a mimic, but to portray them, like an actor... As far as I am concerned the paint is the person. I want it to work for me just as flesh does." LF

" A painter must see all that has been produced up to now as merely an aid to his own work." LF

"... having arrived her at the age of ten, I still feel like a visitor in the most exciting, romantic place I can imagine. Whenever I think of going somewhere else, I think it's mad when there are parts of London I haven't ever visited." LF

After his painting sessions Lucian Freud would often take his "models" to one of his favorite places to eat. One of these places was the Wolseley. At the day of his death, a single candle and a black table cloth was on his regular table honoring the legendary man!

"When one is doing something to do with quality, even a lifetime doesn't seem enough." LF

If you are a Lucian Freud admirer, this book is a must read.
I tell you, like my friend told me:)

With Love 


  1. thank you for this introduction! i got really intrigued and this book now is in my "to read" little notebook : )

  2. i love the idea of someone writing about sitting for an artist. what an amazing insight. excellent excerpts, thanks for sharing i loved reading them.
    checking the book at amazon now...

  3. what an interesting story! happy friday my dear!

  4. What a life and creative process! Have a lovely weekend dear!

  5. An incredible portrait painter. The book sounds great ... and I love your run up to it, building the anticipation.

    If you have time, look at The Oliva Reader (Spangle)via my blog, to see my guest post there. Her 'Chapters in My Life' are extremely interesting each Saturday. I don't speak of my own, but there are good authors who have participated.