Lucian Freud: Drawings 1940
By Christmas 1939, Lucian Freud had turned seventeen, his grandfather Sigmund Freud has recently died, and Second World War had begun. This exhibition consists of the drawings Lucian Freud made during this winter in a single sketch-book. Together they create a superlatively inconsequential diary, tapping into what Joyceans (not to mention Freudians) termed the stream of consciousness.
At this time Freud was a student of the East Anglian School of Art and Design in Dedham, Essex, run by Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett Haynes. When the school closed for winter, Freud and his fellow student David Kentish persuaded their parents to pay for them to stay at Capel Curig, a boarding house in North Wales, where they were later joined by the poet Stephen Spender.
During this time Freud completed several paintings, including ‘Box of Apples in Wales’, and ‘Memory of London’, but the sketchbook became Freud’s resource after dark.
Freud drew things close at hand, when the tea things had been cleared away from the table in the front room, replaced with his inkbottles and Spender’s typewriter. Hands, oil lamp, fender, slippered feet, cup, boiled egg, David Kentish, Stephen Spender reading, typing, playing patience. Into the sketchbook went whatever came into Freud’s head, skulduggery, rudery, in-jokes, operatic snatches: anything that struck him.
On his return to London in February 1940 Freud added drawings of his mother, anticipating his great series of her from the Seventies onwards.