His Most Famous Painting (Girl With a White Dog) — Lucian Freud

Britain’s most popular artist, Lucian Freud was born on December 08, 1922, in Berlin, to Jewish parents Ernst Ludwig Freud and Nee Brasch. Freuds moved to England in 1931 and in 1939, Lucian became a British citizen. The painter studied art at the Cedric Morris East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. He also studied at the Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Lucian Freud held his first solo art exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery, in 1944. His earlier works were considered ‘Surreal,’ because of his unusual compositions, depicting plants, animals, and people. During 1949-54, he changed his style of painting, now concentrating more on portraits and nudes, using impasto. One such masterpiece of this metamorphosed style is «Girl with a White Dog.» To prevent colors from blending with each other, Freud would use alternate brushes for different colors, or would clean up his brush after each stroke. Today, Freud is identified as the greatest ‘Figurative’ painter of modern times.

Lucian Freud would use friends and acquaintances as models, rather than professionals, as he wanted the ‘real’ & ‘natural’ thoughts & feels of the person captured on his canvas. He would use the same people as models for his different paintings, in order to develop a rapport with them at an aesthetically physical and mental level. He believed that professional models are a ‘bit of artfulness.’ His painting, «Girl with a White Dog» lays a lot of stress on the sitter’s face and body. Lucian exploited bold postures (with one breast of the girl hanging out) and the mixed expressions thereon, without the slightest hesitation.

Lucian’s «Girl with A White Dog,» is a much-acclaimed painting, which he painted during 1951-1952. The girl in this painting was his first wife Kathleen (Kitty) Garman, the daughter of Jacob Epstein and Kathleen Garman. The portrait was made when Kitty was pregnant. Kitty posed for the oil on canvass portrait in a chartreuse dressing gown that unknowingly slips down her right shoulder exposing a breast. Freud has, in a magnificent way captured the multitude of emotions that traverse Kitty’s face at that moment, which includes confidence, maturity, and to some extent a sense of apprehension. The painting almost gives one a feeling of being an emotional narrative.

Freud used smooth, linear Ingresque strokes to complete this masterpiece, which shows an unusual juxtaposition between the hair of the bulldog, the wool of Kitty’s dressing gown, and the silk bedspread. According to the painter, he has been successful in capturing the moment, instead of just being instrumental in painting it. It is said that Kathleen herself bought this painting paying a handsome amount, as she did not want it to reach the hands of some pervert.

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