This aristocrat had previously shared the royal children's passion for horses and polo. The Prince of Wales will much later marry Camilla newly divorced from the Brigadier. The hero attended the wedding without resentment.
Lucian Freud was fond of horses, too, and a longtime friend of Andrew Parker Bowles. He painted his portrait in 2003-2004. During 18 months at a rate of three times a week and four hours per session, the Brigadier came to sit in the artist's studio.
Lucian's process is unique in the history of portrait painting. He rushed to the face of his model to inspect a tiny detail that provoked an equally abrupt return to save it on the canvas. Then he saturated his guest in an endless chatter before being ready to proceed with another detail. Lucian was very witty, which was quite necessary to maintain the patience of his models.
The obsession of the artist was to create lifelike works at the opposite of the dryness of a photograph. His method totally different from Bacon's led also to a strong emotion but Lucian managed to keep the realistic features of his characters. The Brigadier is still admiring today his portrait by Freud, better than life even in the glare of the medals.
The officer is not Sue Tilley. Lucian had not imposed an acrobatic attitude to this dignified sexagenarian who was indeed required to take the same position again at each new session. The result looks like a classic military portrait excepted that it is extraordinary in its psychological rendering.
This oil on canvas 224 x 138 cm is featured in Christie's evening sale in New York on November 10, lot 31B. I invite you to watch the video shared by the auction house, in which this piece is discussed by Brett Gorvy.
SOLD for $ 35M including premium