LUCIAN FREUD (1922-2011)
LUCIAN FREUD (1922-2011)
LUCIAN FREUD (1922-2011)
LUCIAN FREUD (1922-2011)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
LUCIAN FREUD (1922-2011)


LUCIAN FREUD (1922-2011)
dedicated and dated ‘For Lorna 27.11.45’ (lower left)
ink on paper
5 x 6 1/2in. (12.8 x 16.6cm.)
Executed in 1945
Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist).
Private Collection (thence by descent).
Anon. sale, Sotheby’s London, 28 June 2001, lot 171.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
W. Feaver, The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth 1922-68, London 2019, p. 213.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Director, Senior Specialist

Lot Essay

Executed on a trip to the Isles of Scilly in 1945, the present work is a remarkable and poignant early drawing by Lucian Freud. Working in fine black ink, Freud depicts a dreamlike coastal scene: in the foreground is a stem of sea-holly—placing us perilously close to its spiny, scalloped leaves—and a round, pitted pebble. In the distance is the sea, its surface stitched with shimmering waves. A small boat hovers near the shore, and three dark rocks slice through the water like fins. At the lower left, in Freud’s distinctive looping hand, the picture is inscribed ‘For Lorna 27.11.45’. The dedication is to to Lorna Wishart, Freud’s first great love, who broke off their relationship upon learning of an affair he had while staying on the Scillies; it is one of the few survivors among the works Freud gave her, most of which she destroyed. A relic of this tumultuous period in the artist’s life, it is also a superb example of his crystalline early draughtsmanship. Unusually, he would go on to reiterate the composition in a painting, Scillonian Beachscape, with the addition of a puffin standing on the stone.

Freud travelled to the Isles of Scilly with his friend John Craxton, staying first on St. Mary’s, the largest island, then on Tresco to the north. At the tail end of the Second World War, the Scillies—an archipelago off the Cornish coast in southwest England—offered an appealing escape for Britons for whom travel abroad was still difficult. (The adventurous Freud himself tried to go one step further on his arrival, unsuccessfully stowing away on a Breton fishing boat bound for France.) The islands’ mild climate, palm trees and clear oceanic light contributed to an exotic atmosphere that is palpable in the lucid economy of Freud’s drawing.

These were not the Scillies’ only temptations. On his return to the mainland, Lorna—a charismatic, bohemian socialite who also had an affair with the poet Laurie Lee, and who was the subject of some of Freud’s earliest portraits—discovered letters from a girl Freud had become involved with during the holiday, and their intense relationship came to an end. ‘The falling-out was violent’, writes William Feaver. ‘Freud did all he could to win her round; he gave her a white kitten, presenting it to her in a paper bag; and then he galloped on a white horse across the fields and up to her window at Marsh Farm, suicidally fast … For Freud she remained an ideal figure, a true muse; her dismissal of him was all the more disheartening in that he had obsessed her and she had forsworn him’ (W. Feaver, The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68, London 2019, pp. 213-214). Seen in this light, the present drawing—its objects arranged like a surreal stage-set—seems charged with symbolic drama. Each element of the picture, however, ultimately stands only for itself, made present in all the esoteric, graphic splendour that defines the young Freud’s uncompromising eye.

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