Wednesday 31 July 2019

Lucian Freud and Jack B Yeats

At the end of June I was at the launch of Life Above Everything: Lucian Freud & Jack B Yeats at the Irish Museum of Modern Art Freud Centre. A large amound of Freud's works are collected together in the Garden Galleries (a separate buillding) as The Freud Centre, for a period of five years. Different curators deal with the collection in different ways and I have seen several iterations of vision for this work. I was immensely curious how the work of two painters, who I think of as polar opposites, was going to be brought together coherently. Below is Girl with Roses by Lucian Freud (left) and Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman by Jack B Yeats (right). It was interesting to learn that the catalyst for the exhibition was the fact that Freud had a Yeats drawing by his bedside for 20 years and had advised a friend-collector on Yeats works to buy! I enjoyed seeing many Yeats works that I had never seen before, and to see the Freud works in a different context. The highlight of the night, for me, however, was the poetry reading by Freud's daughter, Annie, whose poetic works showed facility and humour.

I was pleased several weeks later, when meeting friends at the National Gallery of Ireland, to view works of Freud and Yeats amongst other modernist works. While I had seen all the Yeats works on display at NGI on previous visits, I had a fresher point of view after having seen the exhibition at IMMA's Freud Centre.

I had never seen, or noticed, this early Freud painting at the NGI before and was quite intrigued by its mystery and expressive painting style, which is so different from his later works.

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