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Lucian Freud Book

Lucian Freud Book

The Copper Paintings

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"A gem of a book." – David Dawson

Introducing the first book published by Less. Developed in close collaboration with the Lucian Freud Archive. With texts by Less founder David Scherf and art critic and Freud expert Martin Gayford. Worldwide distribution by Yale University Press.

  • Premium cloth-bound hardcover
  • Copper-metallic hot foil lettering
  • 260 x 190 mm, english
  • 80 pages, richly illustrated
  • Printed on Pure and Japanese art paper
  • Features two previously unpublished works
  • Premiers last photo of lost Francis Bacon portrait
  • With notes on each painting


In the early 950s, Lucian Freud (1922–2011) created several works in oil paint on copper, a technique popular with 17th-century artists such as Rembrandt and Frans Hals but highly unusual for a painter in the mid-20th century. It was originally thought there were only a handful works on copper, but Freud in fact painted more than a dozen—all small-scale, enamel-smooth, and astonishingly intense. Based on a decade of research by David Scherf, this book brings together all of Freud's copper paintings for the first time, including two works that have never been reproduced before. Among Freud’s ‘coppers’ is also his famous portrait of Francis Bacon, labelled by Sir Nicholas Serota as ‘the most important portrait of the 20th century’. The work was stolen in 1988 and has been lost ever since. During his research for this book, Scherf discovered a photograph that shows the work just minutes before the theft. This book is the first to publish it.

About Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud was a German-born British painter and draughtsman and is known as one of the foremost 20th-century portraitists. The son of Jewish architect Ernst Freud and a grandson of Sigmund Freud, he was born in Berlin in 1922 and moved with his family to England in 1933, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1939. Freud turned to painting full-time after World War II. Early on, he established what would become a lifelong focus on portraits and nudes, which he often depicted in arresting close-up. Freud was an intensely private and guarded man, and his paintings, completed over a 60-year
career, are mostly of friends and family. The works are noted for their psychological penetration and often discomforting examination of the relationship between artist and model. Freud worked from life studies, and was known for asking for extended and punishing sittings from his models. In May 2008 his nude portrait "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" was sold by Christie's in New York for $33.6 million, setting a world record for a living artist then. Freud died 2011 at the age of 88 at his home in London.

About the authors

David Scherf is the founder of Less. Martin Gayford is art critic for The Spectator and has authored several books, including "Man with a Blue Scarf" which documents his portrait sitting for Lucian Freud.

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