Including oils, works on paper, etchings, copper plates, and photographs by David Dawson


In 1982 Lucian Freud returned to printmaking after a long break of over three decades. By this point he was fifty and had already gained significant critical acclaim for his visceral portraits, landscapes and still life paintings. In an effort to shed further light upon the often isolated understanding of Freud’s printmaking practice, this exhibition brings together twenty etchings shown alongside related paintings, drawings and photographs. Beginning with the tender depictions of his mother made at the very start of his renewed interest in printmaking, the show encompasses etchings right through to the final decade of his life.


Freud would often start an etching after he had completed a painting, working directly from the model in a similar way to his oils by standing the copper plate upright on the easel like a canvas. Unlike painting or drawing, however, etching presented greater risks. The success or failure of the many months working on the soft copper surface was realised in the first proofing. On display here are some of the etching plates which did not work, rejected and subsequently scratched out, offering an unedited view of the artist’s process.


Shown alongside Freud’s own work are photographs taken by his close friend and studio assistant of over twenty years, David Dawson.  Exhibited for the first time, they capture the poignant final months of Freud’s life. Although there is a striking absence of the human form in many of these images, the artist’s presence is very much felt as the viewer is offered a rare glimpse into his home and his art collection.  In this way they seem to capture a sense of time beyond the physical works and offer a uniquely intimate posthumous encounter with the artist. When considering the photographs and Freud’s own work together, the richly interwoven nature of his practice and the power of his intense scrutiny as an artist becomes all the more apparent.

Lucian Freud: Interior Life will coincide with the National Gallery's major Credit Suisse Exhibition of paintings, Lucian Freud: New Perspectives (1 October 2022 - 22 January 2023). 
Lucian Freud: Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints
The exhibition will also mark the publication of 
By Toby Treves
Published by Modern Art Press
This first volume of the Lucian Freud catalogue raisonné focuses on the artist’s prints. The only complete volume of Freud’s prints, the book builds upon the work of earlier cataloguers and adds much new material which has come to light since the artist’s death. The volume records every print Freud made, from the early linocuts of the 1930s to his last etching published in 2007. Each work—including uneditioned etchings and unique proofs—is reproduced and fully catalogued by Toby Treves. Treves’s remarks include clear, precise technical detail for specialists and are informed by his knowledge of the wider oeuvre. An essay by the critic and Freud specialist Sebastian Smee, and an interview between art historian Martin Gayford and Freud’s main printmaker, Marc Balakjian, provide further insights into this part of the artist’s oeuvre. The catalogue raisonné has been designed by Design Holborn, also responsible for the recent publications Lucian Freud, with text by Martin Gayford, and Lucian Freud: A Life.
For more information about the exhibition and catalogue raisonné, please contact the gallery.