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July 21, 2011 - Meg Alexander
“Uncompromising” has such negative connotations, but at times it’s an admirable trait and one I wish I had the courage to hold onto more often.

On Wednesday night, the British painter Lucian Freud died, at age 88. This name might not be familiar in many households in this area, but in ours, it’s one that’s almost held in reverence.

To quote an Associated Press article, “In a time when other artists spilled their paints on the canvas, Lucian Freud carefully wiped his brush after every stroke. He painted intense, disturbing realist portraits even when representational art was deemed passe. He took months or longer to finish a work, but it took critics and collectors years to catch up to him.

“A grandson of Sigmund Freud, a leading pioneer of modern psychoanalysis, Freud was especially known for his nudes. He meticulously revealed every flaw, creating an intimate, unflinching level of detail that sometimes leaves viewers uncomfortable.”

I have to say that some of his paintings lean on the ... creepy side. They aren’t something I want to look at every day. They make a person feel and think and almost hurt in a way that is indeed uncomfortable, but that is where the truth often lies — in the things that make us uncomfortable, in the details we conveniently Photoshop out of sight.

The truth is, as much as I admire him as an artist, my deeper appreciation of Lucian Freud is found when I look at him from a historical perspective. It’s his passion for what he did that makes me want to dig deeper, try harder and do more of what really matters to me, regardless of what others might think or say.


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"Reflection" Self-Portrait by Lucian Freud