Lucian Freud Herbarium
As intimate and meticulous as his revered portraits, Lucian Freud’s magnificent paintings and drawings of plant life are gathered for the first time in book form.
Lucian Freud’s portraits are known for their spectacular detail and unflinching gaze. Although Freud brought the same qualities to his paintings and drawings of plants, flowers, and landscapes, these are largely unknown. This elegant book shows how working with plants emboldened Freud to experiment with style and composition. Reproduced in sumptuous plates that allow readers to indulge in exquisite detail, seventy-five works—including Two Plants, Bananas, Cyclamen, The Painter’s Garden, and Interior at Paddington—reveal Freud’s singular approach to plant life. Readers unfamiliar with this aspect of Freud’s work will find many similarities to his portraits—earthy palettes, unconventional rawness, and assiduous attention to detail. From the delicate realism of the cyclamens’ petals to the bold brushstrokes that immortalize his overgrown garden, readers will appreciate Freud’s ability to portray plants in new and personal ways. Comparative illustrations from throughout art history accompany essays on the history of plants in art and an appreciation of Freud’s oeuvre. This monograph is a tremendous contribution to Freud’s legacy, one that will enrich his admirers’ discernment while also introducing his thoroughly original depictions of plants to a new audience.
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GIOVANNI ALOI teaches art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. He is the author of numerous books and essays about the intersection of nature, science, and art.