Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
In Focus: Property from the Collection of Brad Grey
Lucian Freud (1922-2011)

Lord Goodman

Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Lord Goodman
charcoal on paper
25 1/4 x 19 3/4 in. (64.2 x 47.8 cm.)
Drawn in 1985.
Private collection, acquired directly from the artist
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, London, 15 February 2012, lot 40
Richard Green Fine Paintings, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner
London Review of Books, vol. 7, no. 13, 18 July 1985 (illustrated on the front cover).
B. Bernard and D. Birdsall, eds., Lucian Freud, London, 1996, no. 186 (illustrated in color).
W. Feaver, Lucian Freud, New York, 2007, p. 247, no. 204 (illustrated in color).
S. Smee and R. Calvocoressi, Lucian Freud: On Paper, London, 2008, no. 142 (illustrated in color).
London, Hayward Gallery, Lucian Freud, February-April 1988, no. 61.
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum; Edinburgh, The Fruitmarket Gallery; Hull, Ferens Art Gallery; Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery; Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum; San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Lucian Freud: Works on Paper, May 1988-December 1989, pp. 85 and 124, no. 61 (illustrated in color).
Rome, Palazzo Ruspoli; Milan, Castello Sforzesca; Liverpool, Tate Gallery, Lucian Freud, Paintings and Works on Paper 1940-1991, October 1991-March 1992, p. 90, no. 63 (illustrated).
Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts; Nishinomiya, Otani Memorial Art Museum; Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum; Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales; Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Lucian Freud, April 1992-March 1993, p. 91, no. 60 (Japan, illustrated in color); p. 69, no. 51 (Australia, illustrated in color).
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Lucian Freud: Recent Work, September 1993-June 1994, pp. 54-55 and 180, no. 15 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

This work has been requested for the forthcoming Lucian Freud drawing exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2021.

A masterpiece of psychological realism and exquisite draughtsmanship, Lord Goodman is a powerful charcoal portrait that stands among the most memorable of Lucian Freud’s late drawings. Closely related to a smaller work held in the permanent collection of the National Gallery, London, it depicts Freud’s lawyer Lord Arnold Goodman, one of the most brilliant and influential figures of the day. He is in bed, with his head propped up somewhat awkwardly on a pillow; his pyjamas and bed-linen form a mountainous scape of rumpled line, leading to the impressive countenance at the composition’s centre. Freud uses charcoal with consummate skill to model Goodman’s craggy, commanding features. His penetrating gaze meets ours directly. Igniting the cream paper against the dark, deftly worked furrows and shadows of Goodman’s face, Freud conjures a living gleam of light on skin. The lawyer’s jutting shocks of hair and unkempt eyebrows are observed in unflinching detail. Goodman is disheveled yet dignified: Freud conveys not just his imposing physical presence, but also the monumentality of his character and mind.

A man unencumbered by personal vanity, Goodman saw being drawn by Freud – who would go on to portray him on several further occasions for the National Gallery’s smaller drawing, a later pastel work and an editioned etching – as a thrilling opportunity. He wrote an entertaining account of the present work’s creation in a 1985 issue of the London Review of Books, on whose front cover it was featured. “[A] very great artist – who has now in a sensationally short space of time become a very close friend – unexpectedly asked if I would like to be drawn by him… I do not think I hesitated for a moment when he asked me. I was flattered beyond words, and a more cautious and vainer man would have stopped to reflect about how Goodman drawn by Freud was likely to appear. But the mere privilege of Goodman being drawn by Freud was enough for me… A willingness to be painted does not arise from vanity or a belief that there is something lovely to be presented to mankind, but rather from the belief that the petitioner sees something in you that you do not see in yourself” (Lord Goodman, “Diary”, London Review of Books, Vol. 7 No. 13, 18 July 1985, p. 21).

Freud’s fascination with Goodman enlivens every inch of the present work, which makes his force of personality unmistakably vivid. There is a palpable charge of interest between sitter and artist. Known as the preeminent legal fixer of his age, Goodman was solicitor and political advisor to former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and held numerous important posts in arts and culture policy throughout his career, including chairmanship of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1965 to 1972. As Freud’s own lawyer, he was a key ally in the artist’s often messy personal affairs. “Just as Lucian liked to have his suits made at Huntsman, the grandest and most expensive tailor on Savile Row, so he sought the best legal advice”, writes Geordie Greig. “Arnold Goodman was not a strong-arm tactician and more often than not would make a problem go away with a quiet word” (G. Greig, Breakfast with Lucian, London 2013, p. 150). With typically keen insight, Freud’s drawing gives a sense of this intimacy in his relationship with Goodman, whose mighty features and acute stare speak of inimitable discretion, power and intelligence.

Goodman was also renowned, like Freud, as a great raconteur. His recollection of sitting for Freud provides a rich snapshot of the artist’s uncompromising working process; like many sitters, he relates that any discomfort was offset by the quality of the conversation. “The drawing process consisted of Lucian arriving at my home at what for me was the middle of the night, usually about 8:30 a.m. My bleary-eyed housekeeper would admit him, and the difficulties associated with bathing, shaving and dressing at that hour were summarily solved by a decision that he would draw me in bed in my pyjamas, unshaved and unbathed, before a single brush or lotion had been applied to the untouched exterior. He chose a position which for the initial drawing – he is now at work on a second – was not entirely comfortable. I was lowish in the bed, with inadequate support for my head, and I frequently arose with a rick in my neck. But he displayed exemplary courtesy in inquiring whether I was comfortable, periodically prodding the pillows, so that there was some slight mitigation of the agony of the position, and I responded with equal courtesy by refraining from any complaint of any kind, however tortured my position. Moreover, in a very short space of time we were engaged in conversation that distracted one from physical miseries” (Lord Goodman, “Diary”, London Review of Books, Vol. 7 No. 13, 18 July 1985, p. 21).

Beyond its important subject, Lord Goodman is a superlative demonstration of Freud’s abilities as a mature draughtsman. Having built his early reputation almost entirely on sharp-lined, intensely observed drawings, he renounced the medium entirely for fifteen years after meeting Francis Bacon in 1950. As Nicholas Penny has written of this moment, “it is hard to think of another artist who turned his back on so much” (N. Penny, Lucian Freud: Works on Paper, exh. cat. South Bank Centre, London, 1988, p. 14). Focusing on his unique painterly idiom, Freud drew only occasionally from the mid-1960s, before a brief resurgence of charcoal and pencil works in the 1970s, and then, from 1982, returning triumphantly to drawing alongside a body of etchings. Etchings would remain a key mode throughout the rest of his career, and the astonishing linear subtlety and confidence that they required was developed in charcoal works such as Lord Goodman. Gone is the crystalline hardness of his earliest drawings; Freud captures crisp fabric, dark brows and heavy folds of flesh with unmistakable warmth, wielding his charcoal with softness and control. After decades spent mastering oil paint, he was able to approach drawing with new eyes. As Sebastian Smee has observed, “in Freud’s later drawings and etchings, we witness an extraordinary transformation as the artist extends and amplifies his repertoire of mark-making, correlating his achievements in paint to an entirely different medium” (S. Smee, “Introduction”, Lucian Freud on Paper, London 2008, pp. 5-6). With total command of light, shadow, weight and space, Freud brings forth as bold and convincing an impression of human presence as in any of his painted portraits. Lord Goodman looks on in grand repose, his picture the record of a captivating encounter. “I will conclude,” he ends his article, “by saying this: that it has been a rare privilege to be drawn by Lucian because it has been an undiluted pleasure. He is one of the most exciting human-beings I know” (Lord Goodman, “Diary”, London Review of Books, Vol. 7 No. 13, 18 July 1985, p. 21).

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