This exhibition fulfils a long-standing ambition to present a substantial body of work by Lucian Freud in Brazil. It is the result of a close collaboration between the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, the Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro; and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Caracas, who have generously agreed to lend a significant number of works from their Collection, making up the core of the exhibition. We are enormously indebted to all three institutions for agreeing to work with us on the development and curation of this revealing exhibition on the work of Lucian Freud, and we would like to express personal thanks to José Teixeira Coelho Netto, Curator-Coordinator of Museu de Arte de São Paulo, and Lauro Cavalcanti, Director of Paço Imperial, for their enthusiasm and commitment to hosting the exhibition in their respective galleries.
The exhibition spans sixty years of Freud’s career. He was never a prolific artist, and the production of his prints falls into two distinct periods: the late 1940s, when he made a small number of experimental prints (which he would usually etch himself with acid bought from the local pharmacy); and then, from the early 1980s onwards, the succession of extraordinary prints he made that have helped to re-define the art of print-making. Many are large-scale nudes and portraits which form, in the words of Craig Hartley who has written about Freud’s work as an etcher for this catalogue, ‘a parallel achievement to his paintings’.
The exhibition also includes five paintings from different decades in the artist’s long career, and an early self-portrait drawing. We are also delighted to be able to present a selection of twenty-eight photographs of the artist, his studio and sitters by David Dawson, Freud’s devoted studio assistant for over twenty years. Dawson’s photographs allow us a rare and privileged insight into the very private working life of one of the most important British artists of the last half-century.