Saturday, January 26, 2008
[Arrghh...in attempting a correction, I accidentally wiped out the entirety of my previous post, which I'll attempt to recreate now...]
Last evening, I went to MOMA with Carol (just back from Portugal and still retaining the title of Most Wonderful Person I Know) to see the exhibit of Lucian Freud etchings. I've always enjoyed his work, though I'd previously only seen individual paintings in this or that gallery or museum. The MOMA show, which includes a number of painted works, is all the more overwhelming, containing any number of beautiful, deep pieces.
This posting mishap allowed me to find an image I couldn't before, albeit a small one, of a wonderful portrait of Abraham Goodman that combines ethereality with meaty materiality:
More than perhaps any other contemporary painter, Freud manages to combine an astounding technique (the guy paints like a mother) with a vast empathy for his subject and an objectively dark view of humanity. In his painting of a large, grossly heavy female nude, her foreshortened knee explodes out of the painting almost as beautifully as Velazquez' "Mercury and Argus" [crappy reproduction of the Freud, but the only one I could find]:
There's a great series of works involving his whippet Eli as well. This one totally knocked me out on several levels, just a fantastically constructed image:
My understanding is that Freud has long since become enough of a fixture on the British scene that he does a number of commissioned portraits and, googling around, my guess is that many of them are among his weaker efforts, but a very substantial portion of his work is as strong as anything else you'll see around these days. Check out the show at MOMA if you get the chance.