IB, 1984

Part 1: Important Fine Art
27 November 2013


(1922 - 2011, British)
IB, 1984

etching on paper

57.0 x 53.0 cm (sheet); 29.5 x 29.5 cm (image)

signed with initials and numbered below image
printed by Terry Wilson at Palm Tree Studios, London
published by James Kirkman, London and Brooke Alexander, New York
edition: 31/50

$18,000 - 26,000
Sold for $19,200 (inc. BP) in Auction 32 - 27 November 2013, Melbourne

Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London (label attached verso)
Private collection
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: Works on Paper, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1988, cat.85 (another example)
Lucian Freud, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 October 1992 – 10 January 1993; Art Gallery of Western Australia, 1 February – 14 March 1993, cat. 55 (another example)
Lucian Freud: Etchings from the Paine Webber Art Collection, Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, 1999, cat. 11 (another example)


Lucian Freud: Works on Paper, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1988, cat. 85 (illus., another example)
The British Council, Lucian Freud; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992, cat. 55, p. 74 (illus., another example)
Hartley, C., The Etchings of Lucian Freud: A Catalogue raissoné 1946–1995, Marlborough – Ceribelli, London, 1995, cat. 22, p.73 (illus., another example)
Bernard, B., Lucian Freud, Random House, London, 1996, cat. 188 (illus., another example)
Lucian Freud: Etchings from the Paine Webber Art Collection, Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, 1999, cat. 11, p. 29 (illus., another example)
Smee., S., and Calvocoressi, R., Lucian Freud on paper, Rizzoli, London, 2009, cat. 129 (illus., another example)

Catalogue text

There have been few limits on the range of bodies or on the kinds of intimacy to which Freud has been willing "indeed avid" to respond. Interest in the person depicted has been the only prerequisite. In most cases, the stronger the interest, the better. 'I paint people, not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.' He has painted lovers and close friends, children and grandchildren, business men and fellow artists, writers and royalty, the notorious and the anonymous. 'I don't think there's any kind of feeling that you have to leave out,' he has said. And yet he is ruthless about omitting the exaggerated or false kind.'1

The person in this powerful image, Ib, is the artist's daughter, Isobel Boyt. It is an example of the quintessential Freud 'portrait head', imbued with a psychological dimension only possible from a deep familiarity, but with that a tension only achievable from Freud's piercing scrutiny. Creating his first etchings in Paris in 1946, Freud produced just a handful of images (of portrait heads) at the time, but did not return to the medium until twenty four years had passed. Although from 1982 the etching medium became integral to Freud's working methods, interestingly this turning point came about as a result of a casual request by Lawrence Gowing to produce 100 etchings to be inserted into a limited edition of the monograph he was producing on Freud's work.2 The first of the new etchings picked up where the artist has left off with small scale close up images of portrait heads.

This work, created some two years later, is in a larger format than the 1982 portraits and clearly shows the artist's development of the medium and his now characteristically fine lines and cross hatched modelling of the form. This gentle portrait of the artist's daughter, her eyes not quite closed, her head not quite at rest, is arresting as it captures our gaze and takes us from feature to feature offering a realism quite distinct from the purely representational.

1. Smee, S., Lucian Freud: Beholding the Animal, Taschen, Cologne, 2011, p. 7
2. Gowing, L., Lucian Freud, a limited edition of 100 copies, Thames and Hudson, London, 1982