Presenting graphic works from a unique collection, Lucian Freud - A Closer Look offered a rare and intriguing chance to examine one of Britain's most influential and compelling artists.
Freud (1922-2011) was painter of human figures whose images was cut bluntly to the bone in their treatment of men and women as fleshly creatures. The leap into the graphics may seem strange, since it is painting that could release the physical look of the body most vividly.
But Freud is similar in this regard to the painter Edvard Munch, who also was a masterful graphic artist: The flesh may perhaps disappear, but the body remains. And the face in particular gains strength when the color is eliminated and the drawing takes over.
Louisiana presented a large selection of works on paper by the renowned British artist Lucian Freud (1922-2011). The works were almost all drawn from the UBS Art Collection, one of the largest corporate collections of contemporary art in the world. Comprising 52 exquisite examples of the artist’s graphic production after 1982, when Freud focused on etchings, this exhibition was part of the museum's Louisiana on Paper series.
THE SEARCHING CHALLENGING GAZE
Lucian Freud stands as one of the most striking artists from the post-war era. His exclusion of social and period-related contexts around his figures is radical and underscores the extent to which his art is and remains art. For him, the few objects in the studio and the white ground of the paper are the world of the picture in its entirety, and to this we must add Freud’s sometimes dramatic cropping of the picture surface.
Radical as Freud's gaze may seem, as if it traps something or someone beneath a glass plate, it was far from objective, it was also always searching and challenging.
As Freud himself once noted: “I’ve always thought that biology was a great help to me and perhaps even having worked with animals was a help. I thought through observation I could make something into my own that might not have been seen or noticed in that way before."
UBS ART COLLECTION
The works on show were all - with only a few additional loans - part of one of the largest and most imporant corporate collections in the world, the UBS Art Collection, comprising over 30,000 items in all media with the emphasis on both the latest contemporary art and the biggest names from the art scene over the past five decades. UBS, based in Zürich and Basel, was a global financial company that actively supported cultural and artistic endeavours in many parts of the word, for example in the form of partnerships with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland, and the art fairs Art Basel in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. Since 2014 UBS had been the sponsor of Louisiana Learning – the museum’s wide-ranging outreach project offering educational activities to both children and adults.
LOUISIANA ON PAPER
Louisiana on Paper was a series dedicated to the presentation of graphic works, drawings and other works on paper. Often small and intimate, these exhibitions called for immersion as they presented an opportunity to have a closer look at the creative processes and working methods of artists. The series was supported by the C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and had until then showncased works by a.o. Josef Albers, Vija Celmins, Ellsworth Kelly, Joseph Beuys, David Hockney, Picasso and most recently George Condo.