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Lucian Freud – John Minton

2 min read  · 15 Aug 2016

Now available through HENI Editions, Lucian Freud’s John Minton, produced in 1952 and published as a facsimile print in 2016 as an edition of 500.

In John Minton, Freud’s subject is his friend John Minton, a painter and illustrator who taught traditional anatomical drawing and figure painting. Minton suffered from depression and committed suicide five years after this portrait was painted. Painted from a close-up viewpoint, John Minton is deeply uncomfortable, intruding on a vulnerable moment of self-reflection and despair.

John Minton (R1), Lucian Freud, 2016

Avoiding comfortable routines and idealistic approaches to representation, Freud constantly strove to broaden the boundaries of his subject matter. The background of John Minton is grey and flat, and the sitter’s somewhat elongated face, expressive but seemingly regretful, occupies most of the canvas. His large, empty eyes and strained facial features offer a haunting image of restrained despair. Freud lays bare his sitter’s psychology through the expression of the body: the slumped posture, the gaunt face, the eyes that stare out in different directions. Minton’s depressed state is vividly captured in the heavy-toned palette and morbidly sensitive brushwork.

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