Important Australian + International Fine Art
27 August 2014


(1922 - 2011, British)

etching on Somerset Satin White paper

81.5 x 71.0 cm (sheet): 68.0 x 59.5 cm (image)

edition: 24/36, 3rd state

signed with initials and numbered below image

$45,000 - 65,000

Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney


Lucian Freud Etchings, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, 11 November – 23 December 2000 (another example) 
Lucian Freud 'Etchings 1946–2004', touring exhibition, 2004: Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; Abbot Hall, Kendal; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; 2005: Waterhall Gallery, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Marlborough Fine Art, London (another example) 
Lucian Freud, The Painter's Etchings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 16 December 2007 – 10 March 2008, cat. 68 (another example)


Hartley, C., Lucian Freud: Recent Etchings, Marlborough Graphics, London, 1999, cat. 51, supplement to catalogue raissoné published 1995, (illus., unpaginated, another example) 
Marks, M. (ed.), Lucian Freud Etchings, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, 2000, cat. 23 (illus., unpaginated, another example) 
Figura, S., Lucian Freud, The Painter's Etchings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008, cat. 68, pp. 6, 7, 28, 85, 137 (illus. p. 6, frontispiece and p. 85, pl. 53, another example) 

Catalogue text

This print of the artist's daughter Bella has a fascinating back story, linked to at least three important aspects of Lucian Freud's roller-coaster life; a life that centred around family, animals, and models.

Freud painted super model Kate Moss naked, through an introduction by fashion designer Bella. He made many new acquaintances through his daughter, some becoming lovers, others opening up windows to different layers of society. Her husband James Fox was the ghost writer of Keith Richards's autobiography.

The London gangsters, the Kray twins, threatened to cut off his painting hand over bad gambling debts. He was officially recognised as father to fourteen children by numerous partners, but the unofficial tally could be as high as forty (three were born to different mothers within a few months).

Freud's life was never dull. Novelist Tom Wolfe described it as 'about as messy a life as was ever lived'.1 Bella was just one product of that great messiness, but father and daughter grew to embrace a deep love for each other.

Lucian Freud specifically requested that Bella wear this particular T-Shirt for the pose. It features the logo he designed for her fashion company, based on the head of his favourite whippet Pluto. The work's title draws our attention to it, otherwise it might be missed amongst the bold hatching on the shirt, the radiating stripes of the chair, and the strong tonal contrasts of arms, hands, and face.

Bella's mother was the gardener and writer Bernardine Coverley. She never married Freud but 'took his name to appease family and shopkeepers'.The book Hideous Kinky, written by Bella's younger sister the novelist Esther Freud is a fictionalised memoir about 'their bohemian childhood on the hippy trail in Morocco'.3

Lucian Freud is the grandson, and Bella the great-granddaughter of the founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud. Lucian was born in Berlin on 8 December 1922. All of his gambling disasters came from using his 'lucky' birth number 8 in picking horses. Fittingly, he died at the age of 88 in 2011. And Bella, who dominates this remarkable print, had the double tragedy of coping with losing her mother within four days of her father's death. 'You know with my father', she told Sabine Durrant, 'we all knew he was going to die. We were all preparing ourselves. We had no idea my mother was ill.'4

Freud's oft-quoted description of humans as 'animals wearing clothes' is given a further twist in this work where the clothing (the T-Shirt) is so obviously wearing the animal, Pluto. 'Freud had a mystical connection to animals', Geordie Greig writes in Breakfast With Lucian. 'He kept a pair of sparrowhawks in his house. To feed them, he would shoot rats with his gun on the canal bank at Regent's Park. He once brought home a pair of buzzards. His whippets Eli and Pluto were part of his entourage and he drew, painted and engraved them.'5

According to fashion writer Sabine Durrant, 'Over the past decade if a company - Jaeger, Biba or Barbour " needed a designer to sprinkle the magic dust of cool, it was Freud they chose.'6

Lucian and Bella did not get to know each other well until her teenage years when she first started modelling for him. Her branch of the complex Freud clan eventually moved to Tunbridge Wells where she studied at a Steiner school and where her mother was a dinner lady. As soon as she could, she left, and immediately found a job working at Vivienne Westwood's London store. She is still strongly inspired by Westwood's activism and has herself founded a charity called Hoping, with Karma Nabulsi, for Palestinian refugee children.

1. Greig, G., Breakfast with Lucian, Jonathan Cape, London, 2013, Kindle edition, quote on book cover
2. Durrant, S., 'Bella Freud Bares All', Telegraph, London, 12 November 2012, p. 17
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Greig, G., op. cit., p. 2149 of 4001
6. Durrant, S., op. cit., p. 17