Their just launched Lucian Freud exhibit features a little-known aspect of the great artist’s work - his raw, unruly botanical paintings. Freud applied the same approach to capturing the plants and flowers that surrounded his everyday life, as he did to people, taking them exactly as he saw them, the more decaying, disobedient, and flawed, the better.
Discover Lucian Freud's Stunning Plant Portraits
11th October 2022
Lucian Freud is rightly lauded as one of Britain’s finest figurative painters, the largest retrospective of his work has just opened at the National Portrait Gallery. But if you seek something altogether more intimate and unexpected from the artist, visit the Garden Museum in Lambeth for their just launched exhibition, Plant Portraits.
A traditional show of pretty flowers this is not, rather expect to see paintings of buddleia choking the wasteland behind his house in Paddington between 1970-1972, and a frayed, obstreperous fern, its wilful fronds curling beyond the frame. The painting “Two Plants” , (top), showing a browning, parched hedgerow fronted by lush shiny leaves is as challenging in its ugliness as it is masterful in its technique. Seeing the intense, tiny detail, it’s easy to see why it took Freud three years to paint, and drove him “around the bend.”
“The general thrust,” the Garden Museum’s director Christopher Woodward, told the FT, “is that Freud is the best plant painter of the 20th century. The work sends shivers down your spine, they are more alive than his life paintings.”
Lucian Freud: Plant Portraits is at The Garden Museum, October 14, 2022 until March 5, 2023.