GIRL HOLDING HER FOOT, 1985

Important Australian and International Fine Art
Sydney
10 May 2017
26

LUCIAN FREUD

(1922 – 2011, British)
GIRL HOLDING HER FOOT, 1985

etching on Somerset Satin paper

69.0 x 54.0 cm

edition: 21/50 published in 1986 by James Kirkman, London, and Brooke Alexander, New York
Estimate: 
$30,000 – 40,000
Provenance

James Kirkman, London
Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney (label attached verso)
Graham Glenwright, Sydney
Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney (label attached verso)
Mr & Mrs David Stevenson, Melbourne
Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney (label attached verso)
Private collection, Sydney

Exhibited

Lucian Freud: Works on Paper, South Bank Centre, London, 1988 and touring England, Scotland and USA, cat.88 (another example)
Lucian Freud, Tate Gallery Liverpool (British Council exhibition), 4 February – 22 March 1992, then touring to: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 October – 10 January 1992; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 1 February – 14 March 1993, cat. 59 (another example)
Lucian Freud 'Etchings 1946 – 2004', Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, 2 April –13 June 2004, then touring to: Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Waterhall Gallery, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham (another example)
Lucian Freud, The Painter's Etchings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 16 December 2007 – 10 March 2008, cat. 34 (another example)

Literature

Bevan, R., ‘Freud's Latest Etchings’, Print Quarterly, vol. 3, December 1986, pp. 334 – 343 (illus. p. 340)
Lucian Freud, The British Council, London and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992, cat. 59, p. 78 (illus., another example)
Hartley, C., The Etchings of Lucian Freud: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1946 – 1995, Marlborough Graphics and Ceribelli, London, 1995, cat. 25 (illus., another example)
Bernard, B. and Birdsall, D. (eds.), Lucian Freud, Jonathan Cape, Random House, London, 1996, p. 356, cat. 200 (illus., another example)
Figura, S., Lucian Freud, The Painter's Etchings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008, pp. 65, 135, 142 (illus. pl. 34, another example)

Catalogue text

Girl Holding Her Foot, 1985 is one of six etchings from Lucian Freud’s celebrated suite of large-scale intaglio works, four of which were executed on imposing copper plates measuring almost seventy by fifty-five centimeters each. A quintessential example of one of Freud’s famous ‘naked portraits’, Girl Holding Her Foot offers a refreshingly raw approach to the venerable genre of the classical Nude.

Freud, particularly in his etched works, depicted his sitters with a palpable weight and physicality. The negation of spatial context, props and background in many of the artist’s printed works of the 1980s, particularly Girl Holding her Foot, Blond Girl and Woman Sleeping, create a strange, almost surreal effect in which the sitter appears to float in a void, hovering in a way that directly contradicts the strong, weight-bearing contours of their bodies.

The anonymous sitter of Girl Holding Her Foot also appears in a painting of the same name, in which the setting of this scene is more clearly defined. The girl was seated in the corner of Freud’s first floor studio in Notting Hill, naked on the quilted couch that appeared in many portraits of the same time, notably Night Portrait, 1980 – 1985 which would form the basis of the 1985 etching Blond Girl. Freud was first and foremost a portrait painter and with a remarkably post-modern mentality, he approached this genre in an almost performative way. Operating under strict confidentiality, Freud would only select his sitters from a closely-knit circle of friends and acquaintances. He invited them to sit under his scrutinizing gaze in his studio for hours on end, over many months, rewarding them afterwards with extravagant roast dinners.

The extended period of time needed to create these portraits, both painted and etched, allowed the artist to conjure a deep rapport with the sitter. Through this process, his portraits are suffused with hard-won candor, unconstrained by setting, naturalistic or otherwise. Using this privileged interaction with his sitters as a foundation for his portraits, Freud was able to manipulate conventional codes of decorum – creating extraordinarily powerful and visually disarming works.

LUCIE REEVES-SMITH