See Unseen Photos of the Artist Lucian Freud Larking About in His Studio With a Nude Male Model and a Pet Rat
The intimate photos, taken by the painter's daughter, Rose Boyt, are on view at London's Ordovas gallery.
Never-before-seen photographs of the legendary British painter Lucian Freud, taken by his daughter at the time she was sitting for a now-famous nude portrait, have made their public debut. The photos are on view alongside Freud’s major painting of his daughter, Rose Boyt, at Ordovas in London. The exhibition, titled “In the Studio,” runs through April 27 at the gallery on Savile Row.
The picture at the center of the show, Rose (1977–78), is one of Freud’s famous night paintings, created 40 years ago after the painter had moved out of his one-room apartment in London’s Paddington neighborhood to a much larger studio in Holland Park, where he began to create larger works. Although she was just 19, Rose chose a bold pose for the portrait: reclining, nude.
Rose, who is now an author, has written about the experience of sitting for her father in the show’s catalogue. “How did I feel about sitting?” she writes. “Angry and exhilarated, outraged by the terms and conditions, honored to have been chosen. Just to spend time with him was inspirational. I loved him.”
She also writes about growing up outside the studio, including how her father gifted her an Elizabeth David cookbook for her 18th birthday and an account of an interesting marriage proposal… from Andy Warhol.
Rose’s previously unseen photos were the result of an assignment to capture a portrait of her father for an exhibition catalogue. Rather than picture him painting, she snapped some candid pictures of Freud that offer the viewer a fly-on-the-wall insight into the painter’s secretive life. The photographs also document his studio at the time, including the brown Chesterfield couch that appears in so many of his works and the wall on which he cleaned his paintbrushes.
The photos also picture Freud’s first-ever male nude model, Raymond Jones, who was also sitting for him at the time. The painter worked concurrently on different paintings to allow sitters to have breaks or to have something fresh to turn his attention to if he got stuck. In some of the images, Jones and the painter play around with a pet rat borrowed from one of Freud’s roommates at the time. (The artist’s Naked Man With Rat [1977–8], which pictures Jones, was painted around this time.) In some images, the in-progress painting of Boyt is also visible.
In the catalogue for the show, Boyt recalls her pose and the decision to paint a sheet over her legs. “It was clear to me after maybe a year of sittings I was too big to fit on the canvas—my leg was going to be chopped off above the ankle,” she writes. “So I suggested bandaging it with one of the unused paint rags that were always to hand in the studio, old hotel sheets that came from Ratzker’s, a rag-yard in Brick Lane.” The striking result of this choice can be seen in the finished work.
See Boyt’s photographs from the studio below. [Editor’s note: The images below may not be suitable for all viewers due to nudity and the rat.]
“In the Studio” runs through April 27 at Ordovas in London. See more images from the show below:
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