Vienna : “Lucian Freud” at Kunst Historiches Museum

by Venetia Kapernekas

8 october 2013-6 january 2014


photo: courtesy of Historisches Museum;(published photo)

“….This exhibition, the first ever to be shown in Austria, presents a concise survey of his 70-year working career from an early wartime self-portrait of 1943 to the final, unfinished painting that remained in his studio at the time of his death in July 2011. It covers a range of different genres, from portraits of his family, close friends, wives and lovers, neighbours, fellow artists, aristocrats, working-class associates and animals, to still lifes, landscapes and -arguably his most sustained and remarkable achievement -his own self-portraits…. Presented within the Kunsthistorisches Museum, whose collections span almost four thousand years from Ancient Egypt to the great painters of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque, the exhibition also provides a unique opportunity to consider and examine Freud’s interest in the art of the past. Freud’s awareness and profound understanding of art history stand like bookends to his remarkable life.  Growing up in Berlin between the wars, his childhood home was decorated with prints of Old Master paintings and drawings by Dürer, Titian, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, including two seasonal landscapes from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Hunters in the Snow and the Return of the Herd, a gift to the young Lucian from his grandfather Sigmund.