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A Lucian Freud timeline

Posted 6:54pm on Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012

A Lucian Freud timeline

1922: Freud is born in Berlin to Ernst Freud, an architect, and the former Lucie Brasch. His grandfather is famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

1933: As Hitler comes to power in Germany, Freud's family emigrates to London.

1940s: Freud begins painting seriously. His earliest pieces are surrealist, though he later rejects that mode for a realist form of portrait. His subjects are often friends, lovers and colleagues, who are required to sit for long stretches over multiple sittings. In a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair, artist David Hockney estimates sitting for 120 hours for Freud's 2003 portrait of him.

1948: The painter marries his first wife, Kitty Epstein, the daughter of sculptor Jacob Epstein. They have two children and divorce in 1952. In 1953, he marries Caroline Blackwood -- the subject of his painting Girl in Bed, which is part of the Modern exhibit -- but divorces in 1958. He never marries again, but has a series of mistresses, and he fathers at least 12 more children. (There are rumors that he fathered many more.)

1954: Alongside the work of his friend and mentor, Francis Bacon, Freud's work is exhibited in the British Pavilion at the prestigious Venice Biennale.

1987: The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., hosts the first major exhibition of Freud's work in the United States, which is extremely well-received. (According to The New York Times, no New York museum would take the show on.) Freud's reputation, always strong in his home country, begins to grow internationally.

1992: Freud meets with New York art dealer William Acquavella, who agrees to represent him and begins selling his newest paintings for high-six- and seven-figure sums. After decades of struggling financially, Freud becomes very wealthy.

1993: Reviewing a Freud exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Time magazine's influential art critic Robert Hughes proclaims Freud "the best realist painter alive."

2000-01: Freud requests a series of sittings with Queen Elizabeth II. The resulting portrait, revealed in December 2001, sets off a firestorm of controversy, with some accusing Freud of being disrespectful of the monarchy. The BBC quotes the editor of British Arts Journal as saying: "It makes her look like one of the royal corgis who has suffered a stroke."

2008: The painter's 1995 portrait Benefits Supervisor Sleeping -- a nude of the 300-pound-plus Sue Tilley -- sells at auction for $33.6 million to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. It's the most money ever paid for a work by a still-living artist.

2011: Freud dies, leaving behind an estate with an estimated value of $150 million. At the time of his death, he is putting the finishing touches on a 5-foot-tall portrait of his longtime assistant David Dawson. (The Dawson portrait is part of the Modern's exhibit.)

2012: "Lucian Freud: Portraits" opens to rave reviews at London's National Portrait Galley in February. The Guardian praises the show as "grave, mysterious, compelling and inexhaustibly strong." Although a few of the original show's paintings do not travel, the exhibit opens mostly intact July 1 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Sources: Vanity Fair, the Guardian, Time magazine, The New York Times, BBC, Acquavella Galleries, Wikipedia, The Daily Mail

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