British painting titan Lucian Freud dies

Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:06pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - British figurative painter Lucian Freud, whose uncompromising, fleshy portraits made him one of the world's most revered and coveted artists, has died aged 88.

His long-time New York art dealer William Acquavella said the grandson of Sigmund Freud had died at his home in London on Wednesday night after an unspecified illness.

"My family and I mourn Lucian Freud not only as one of the great painters of the 20th century but also as a very dear friend," the dealer said in a statement.

"As the foremost figurative artist of his generation he imbued both portraiture and landscape with profound insight, drama and energy.

"In company he was exciting, humble, warm and witty. He lived to paint and painted until the day he died, far removed from the noise of the art world."

Whatever he thought of the art world, and the celebrity status that often comes with it, Freud was very much its darling toward the end of his life.

His "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping," a 1995 portrait of a obese woman asleep in the nude on a sofa, fetched $33.6 million at Christie's in 2008, an auction record for a living artist.

The buyer was widely reported to be Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.   Continued...

<p>Visitors walk near paintings by Lucian Freud in a gallery room at the Centre Pompidou Contemporary Art Museum in Paris March 9, 2010. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes</p>