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Head Of A Greek Man (1946)
By Lucien Freud
Oil on panel; from the Collection of John Craxton
Size: 28.4 x 24.8 centimetres (11.25 x 9.75 inches)
Estimated price: £1,500,000-2,000,000

Lucien Freud (1922-2011) is one of the most important and influential British portrait artists of his generation. He is renowned for his masterful virtuosity of light and careful manipulation of contours, inspired by German expressionism and surrealism.

From the collection of the artist’s close friend, John Craxton, Freud’s early portrait, Head of a Greek Man (1946), is an exceptional example rarely seen in public that demonstrates the beginnings of his artistic career. Freud’s early works reflect his interest in the relationship between the artist and the model, explored through his advancing compositional technique that produces a discomforting and awkward style.

Petros Mastropetros, a friend that he and Craxton encountered during a trip to the Saronic Gulf, is depicted as a static and detached figure using a frontal perspective with dimensions around half human-scale. This captured a ‘limpid and luminous’ aesthetic, which Craxton greatly admired, and shows the linear influence of the icons at the Byzantine Museum in Athens on Freud.

Christie’s Post-war and Contemporary Evening Sale will take place in London on June 26, 2012.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 24, 2012.