Freud - pre-superstardom
July 25 2011
Picture: New York Times, Self-Portrait etching.
In The Art Newspaper, Anna Somers Cocks has a good piece on Freud's critical reception as recently as 20 years ago:
Some very high prices have been paid for Freud's work in recent years, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995, selling for $33.6m in May 2008 at Christie's New York, a new record for a living artist. The short memory of the conformist, fickle art world has led many to forget, however, that only 20 years earlier he was considered a curious, late, insular British manifestation of expressionism and so of no serious interest. His first Paris retrospective, by the unorthodox curator Jean Clair at the Centre Pompidou in 1987, was widely denounced for being unworthy of an institution dedicated to the avant-garde. That same exhibition could not find a top venue in the US prepared to take it so it ended up at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, the same year.