Lucian Freud

Museum of Modern Art/Marlborough Graphics

Among Lucian Freud’s earliest works, from the 1940s, are etchings that, while intimate, feel charged with a rough emotional urgency. The atmosphere recurs in etchings from the 1980s and later, as well as in his oils from the ’60s onward. As an emerging painter, Freud was heavily influenced by Francis Bacon’s disruptive (and as some theorists would have it, scatological) smear and, just as crucially, by Bacon’s sense of the innate perversity of being human. Like Bacon, Freud succeeds in turning his models’ bodies into a kind of painterly residue, recognizably human but still grossly material.

In contrast to a recent exhibition at Marlborough Graphics, which focused on the etchings Freud made from the 1980s through the present day (sixteen were featured, the earliest dated 1984, the latest 2006), a concurrent show at the Museum of Modern Art dealt with the entire range of his etchings,

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