This revelatory publication features a selection of beautifully reproduced images from the sketchbooks of Lucian Freud (1922–2011), one of the world’s greatest realist painters. Most of the sketches — which include works in pencil, pastel, and watercolor from across the artist’s long career — are published here for the first time. These fascinating images extend our understanding of Freud’s work and demonstrate the scrutiny he brought to his subjects.
The sketchbooks, now in the archive of the National Portrait Gallery, London, include portraits of Freud’s family members, friends, and lovers. Designs for book covers, images of his beloved dogs and horses, landscapes, and interiors appear among nudes, still lifes, and several sketches that relate to major works. Around and between the drawings are Freud’s annotations and jottings — appointments, racing tips, notes, musings — which, with startling immediacy, provide a glimpse into the working life of one of the 20th century’s most important artists. The book includes an insightful essay by Martin Gayford, who sat for portraits by Freud and knew him well, and an illustrated chronology of the artist’s life.