He was the most important artist of our time, and his paintings are some of the world’s most iconic. But he is also a very controversial figure. His work was often disturbing with sexually explicit subject matter that caused widespread outrage when first exhibited in England
Lucian Freud was an English painter who tried to buy back a self-portrait that he had sold in the 1950s. The artist’s family found out about his plan, and after much debate, agreed to let it happen.
Here’s an art narrative with a shaky conclusion.
The narrative begins 25 years ago, when an unidentified Swiss art buyer acquired a painting named ‘Standing Male Nude’ — a person with his back to the observer – thought to be Lucian Freud’s self-portrait at an auction in Geneva.
Although the artist’s face is obscured, the figure seems to be recognizable from all the times he has painted himself. He is also known for his layered brushwork and big, loose strokes.
Then a strange chain of events occurred. Freud tried to sell his artwork back to the art collector but was rejected down.
It didn’t stop there, however. The painter, who died in 2011, phoned the collector “furious” three days later and demanded the buy-back.
He even offered to pay twice the selling price, according to The Observer. But, once again, he was rejected.
Look back, enraged.
Finally, Freud confronted the art collector, threatening to deny ever painted the piece if he didn’t sell it back to him. If the picture is disowned, it will never be sold as a Sigmund Freud painting again.
In other words, the art collector would be stuck with the picture, which he was. Even when art historians concluded that the picture was painted by him, the denial has cast a pall over it.
So we’re forced to speculate as to what inspired Freud’s desperate attempt to reclaim “Standing Male Nude.” Based on a private investigator’s assessment, the collector believes the painter felt “embarrassed” since the nude is a self-portrait.
Do you agree with that? I don’t think so.
How can a back-view of a naked woman make anybody blush, much alone Sigmund Freud, who was famous for his “naked portraits”? “His brilliant portrayals of other people’s nude body, frequently with horrific reality,” according to The Guardian, including his own.
“Brutal realism” became somewhat of a brand name. He painted both males and women’s frontal nudes, often with their legs spread-eagled for extra exposure.
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Embarrassment, therefore, could not be the reason Freud so desperately desired Standing Male Nude’s return. However, information from the collector’s private investigator has surfaced. Standing Male Nude was originally shown in a Geneva flat that was used covertly by Francis Bacon and his homosexual associates, including Sigmund Freud.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
The figure’s stance – slightly bowed away from the observer with one arm pushed forward and out of sight – may be interpreted as a sex act.
Maybe he’s masturbating or looking for a lover. But what does it matter?
How could a simple inference of self-gratification or any form of sex act embarrass a guy who was dubbed a “Lothario” by the Daily Express in 2008 when he was 89 years old?!
Perhaps the simplest solution is the best. I believe Freud wanted the painting back for emotional reasons, so he could give it to one of his numerous lovers, like he did Francis Bacon. No? Unfortunately, grandpa Sigmund Freud isn’t available for some psychotherapy.
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