On June 30 in London, Christie's sells as lot 26 a significant artwork from that period. This oil on canvas 168 x 147 cm painted in 1992 shows his natural daughter Ib and her husband lying on a bed. Ib is pregnant with her third child and sleeps with a blissful smile. Pat tenderly embraces her. The press release of April 28 announced an estimate around £ 18M.
I have too much mentioned in this column the intellectual efforts of Lucian for keeping his models steady. Now Ib is sleeping. The real engine of Lucian's creativity is not empathy, even with his natural children whom he was so happy to meet again after having abandoned their childhood.
Lucian developed an obsessive idea of perfection, up to somehow ignoring the plurality of art. In the pre-sale video made by Christie's to introduce Benefits Supervisor resting, the already very old artist is seen stating with an intense conviction: "I want each picture I am working on to be the only picture that everyone has ever done".
Throughout his long career, he also maintained his belief that he is above all interested in the physical presence, reducing the human being to the animality of the body. Lucian is not Sigmund. however there is a link between his obsession and the unforgettable personality of his grandfather.
Lucian painted bodies, naked or not. But it is a still life with book painted in 1991-1992 that provides the key to the genesis of his inspiration. The book is a history of Egypt opened on two photos of figures of El Amarna. Sigmund Freud was a great lover of antiques that supported his vision on the continuity of human psychology and the Amarna art is a rare moment in art history of a successful quest for an absolute realism using the technique of painted sculptures.
Lucian is not a sculptor but his impasto becomes extremely thick, bringing art and life closer through the availability of all color pigments. The culmination of this approach in 1993 is the study of his own naked body shown in his painting occupation. The masterpiece of Lucian Freud is in fact nothing else than himself fossilized for ever within his own impasto.
He was wrong. The art continues to evolve despite his desire to freeze it. We will one day forget Lucian Freud. We will never forget the bust of Nefertiti, the eternal masterpiece of Amarna art.