Friday, December 7, 2012

My daughter is a talented artist. She never really had a formal art lesson in her life yet she can take a piece of white paper and in a short while make the white disappear and a new image with depth and light and a meaning appear. True unsolicited creativity. We all wish we could put our thoughts through imagery on paper without being embarrassed by our stick figures. She is opinionated and does not wish the focus to ever be on her. So, I am in trouble for even writing this paragraph.

Most art that I see from recent artists look like a fat man who just ate too much food just threw up his dinner all over the canvas. Then someone buys the thing. I don’t like most contemporary art. I like the fine artists of the past. The Rembrandt's and Michelangelo paintings who had artists who drew a person as they looked. Of course those were the days before cameras. If you wanted a picture of yourself, you had to hire a good artist then it probably was the only picture of yourself.
These days there is absolutely no reason for someone not to have a bearable photo of themselves since we have phones that come with 2 sided cameras where you can zoom in or out and crop pictures. Take as many pictures as you want and delete them all too if you want to. So many options that there should be no reason to commission a painter to draw yourself anymore. But then comes the painter Lucian Freud, a grandson of Sigmund Freud now considered to be the greatest portrait painter of the twentieth century.
His portraits are different. You can see despair or exasperation or deep sadness or weariness on the people’s faces yet their bodies have all the curves in the right places to be reminiscent of the good old master artists of generations ago. He reveals the depth of character in his paintings just as his grandfather Sigmund Freud was able to do through talk.
His paintings have flesh so real you can feel like a voyeur getting a nude glimpse of someone in their most unattractive pose. Then you see their eyes that seem to tell it all about what is going on in the soul of a person. Yes , it used to be just a white canvas but now it is a portrait of a life. In 2008 a portrait of a nude obese woman sleeping sold for $30 Million dollars, the highest price ever paid at the time for painting by a living artist.
Lucian Freud died, July 22, 2011 and most of his paintings can be seen in the Modern Art Museum of Art in Fort Worth , Texas where 96% of his work was portraits. He was born in Germany and fled the Nazi’s and moved to London. He painted people he loved and knew. He always made people look older and distresses so when he drew the Queen of England she wasn’t too happy.
He didn’t care and his goal like my daughter’s was not to please his subjects so he did not care if he got paid or not. He loved to paint nudes. He said that anyone can put on clothes but the naked body is more permanent, more factual. Many of the women who posed for Freud became his lovers. It is rumored that he fathered dozens of children. There are 14 known children of which he had little or no relationship with.
The people he painted were his wives, lovers, children and friends. It was a way to be in the world without having to go out into the world. Lucian died at 88 years old. He did not just paint a body with perfectly proportioned arms and legs. He painted humanity with all the worries of their world in their eyes. How do you put emotion on a flat piece of canvas? Not easy to do but he did it.
It is so ironic that his grandfather dealt so much with the actual human emotions. This guy was able to paint what it was to be human. To be alive.

No comments:

Post a Comment