(Reuters) — An abstract painting by German artist Gerhard Richter will go on sale for the first time at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sale in London, alongside works by Lucian Freud and Andy Warhol, Sotheby’s said on Wednesday.
Lucian Freud did not live to see the first exhibition of his paintings in Vienna, the city his grandfather Sigmund fled in 1938, but he helped plan the retrospective that opens this week.
Lucian Freud, a painter considered by many critics to be the leading British artist before his death in 2011, at age 88, was also an art collector, owning works by 19th-century artists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Edgar Degas. Now, Freud’s heirs are donating some of his collection to British museums — partly as a gesture of thanks, and partly as a way to pay a hefty inheritance tax.
In 1993, Lucian Freud, the painter known for his sharp psychological portraits of friends and family often sprawled nude in his studio, painted his own portrait. “Now the very least I can do is paint myself naked,” the artist said. Called “Painter Working, Reflection,” the work shows the artist, then 71, facing the viewer with a brush in one hand and a palette in the other. He is naked — starkly so — and his head slouches towards the ground, flesh sagging over his frame. The paint looks dry and flaky, creating the impression that Freud’s entire body is on the verge of crumbling into dust.
In April, 2010, when the Israeli artist Avigdor Arikha (born Dlugacz in Romania) died at age 81, he was praised for his sensitive figurative art, as well as his heroic life story. In 1941, after Arikha’s family was deported to Romanian-run concentration camps, his drawings of deportation scenes, shown to International Red Cross representatives, won freedom for himself and his sister. By 1944 they had reached Palestine, where he lived on Kibbutz Ma’ale HaHamisha in the Judean Hills, before relocating definitively in 1954 to Paris.