The Painter's Etchings
One of the foremost figurative artists working today, Lucian Freud has redefined portraiture and the nude through his unblinking scrutiny of the human form. Although he is best known as a painter, etching is integral to his practice. This volume accompanies a major Museum of Modern Art exhibition that will present the full scope of Freud's etchings, including some 75 works--from the rare early experiments of the 1940s to the increasingly complex compositions he has created since rediscovering the medium in the early 1980s. Written by exhibition curator Starr Figura, it also includes a selection of paintings and drawings that illuminate the crucial, cross-pollinating relationship between Freud's etchings and his works on canvas. Freud is not a traditional printmaker: Treating the etching plate like a canvas, he stands the copper upright on an easel. He also typically depicts the same sitters in etchings as in paintings, demarcating their forms through meticulous networks of finely etched lines. Freud's etchings may either precede or follow the execution of paintings, and they are sometimes as large as, or larger than, their related canvases. But with their figures dramatically cropped or isolated against empty backgrounds, they achieve a startling new sense of psychological tension and formal abstraction.