Part 1: Important Fine Art
27 November 2013


(1922 - 2011, British)


52.5 x 70.0 cm

signed with initials and numbered below image
Proofed and printed by Marc Balakjian at Studio Prints, London
Published by James Kirkman, London and Brooke Alexander, New York
edition: 27/50

$30,000 - 40,000

Dover Street Gallery, London (label attached verso)
Michael Nagy Fine Art, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney


This work has been exhibited widely throughout the world, including
Lucian Freud, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1 February – 14 March 1993, cat. 63 (another example)
Whistler to Freud: Etching in Great Britain, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 August – 11 November, 2001, cat. 30 (another example)
Lucian Freud: the Painter's Etchings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2007, 16 December 2007 – 10 March 2008, cat. 36 (another example)


The British Council, Lucian Freud, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992, cat. 63, p. 81 (illus., another example)
Hartley, C., The Etchings of Lucian Freud: A Catalogue raissoné, 1946-1995, Marlborough Graphics and Ceribelli, London, 1995, cat. 33 (illus., another example)
Bond, A., and Tunnicliffe, W., Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2006, p. 128 (illus., another example)

Catalogue text

The following excerpts are from Figura, S., Lucian Freud: The Painter's Etchings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2007, pp. 23-24

Freud's Naked Portraits are his most disturbing and subversive works. His figures are shown reclining on a bed or sofa, often either asleep or in a state of introspection or reverie, in strange, unflattering poses that are nevertheless often natural to the way they sleep or relax by themselves. Commonly viewed from an unusual vantage point, the angular limbs, foreshortened faces, and tortured body language rebuke the tradition of the ideal nude. Indeed, by deliberately referring to his depictions as 'Naked Portraits', Freud consciously distinguishes his works from venerable 'nudes' and emphasises the rawness that is central to his vision. The location is always Freud's studio - a reference to the artist's own world rather than any mythical or symbolic setting. 'I am only interested in painting the actual person; in doing a painting of them, not in using them to some ulterior end of art', he has stated. 'For me, to use someone doing something not native to them would be wrong.' Ignoring whatever taboos regarding the body that may persist today, Freud means for his works to 'astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.' Their strangeness comes, as Robert Hughes has written, 'in large part from their making: they bypass decorum while fiercely preserving respect'.

Freud made his first Naked Portrait etchings in 1985; two of women and two of men, these were also his first prints on large plates. Freud made three more Naked Portraits of women between 1987 and 1992, each one representing a body and pose that also appear in a specific painting but, again, cropped, rotated or isolated in ways that confound our expectations and upset our equilibrium. In Girl Sitting, Freud has cropped the image through the top of the figure's head, while at the same time leaving an incongruously generous amount of empty space at the bottom of the picture. In fact, the etching plate originally included the full head (which is how it appears in the related painting completed slightly later), but after the image was finished Freud decided to revitalize the composition by cutting down the plate across the top. Girl Sitting is devoid of any narrative setting, although there is a hint of spatial definition in the background line that seems to demarcate the edge of a bed or the floor. An ambiguous shadow behind the figure strengthens this effect and also serves to push the figure forward, closer to us. It is an unusual element in Freud's prints, and one that injects a note of anxiety somewhat reminiscent of the looming darkness behind the adolescent figure in Edvard Munch's At Night (Puberty), 1902.