Freud Has Died
Lucian Freud, one of the greats of British post-war painting, has died, at the age of 88. I had the pleasure to see him several times as he dined at his table at The Wolseley. Yesterday, according to The Guardian, that table was draped in a black cloth with a single candle on it. Freud, whose paintings sold for tens of millions, was famously linked to Sigmund Freud, his grand-father. I recall studying his work in art history class back at college in Montreal; we were all taken aback by and impressed with his attention to genitals, and to the gross realities of human fleshiness. Later, in London, I looked into his late self-portrait and recognized in its slashes of dark colours genius, and dark self-reflection. Genius can be complicated, strange, ugly, and attractive, all at once, in a compelling way; the best art usually is. I am not sure Freud was a person you'd want to meet unless you were a beautiful woman, or someone to model for him, or a close friend; he emanated a sense of danger. I am glad to have seen him at a distance; and to have seen his paintings up close. One of his children, Annie Freud, is one of the best English poets of her generation; my condolences to her and the rest of his family.