Suchen Sie nach über 100 Millionen verkauften Objekten in unserer Datenbank

Head of a Boy
Verkauft
Head of a Boy
Verkauft

Über das Objekt

Foreword by Grey Gowrie The subject of this exquisite small head is Garech Browne, who died in 2018. It was painted in 1956 when Garech was sixteen and when Lucian Freud was still married to Garechs first cousin Caroline Blackwood. She introduced him to Luggala, her aunt Oonaghs Wicklow home. Separated from Garechs father, Lord Oranmore and Browne, Oonagh was the youngest of the three Golden Guinness Girls, iconic society beauties of the 1920s and 30s. Garechs younger brother, Tara, was killed in a car crash in the 1960s. He was the inspiration for the Beatles song A Day in the Life, from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.\nThe painting was executed on the wild Wicklow estate given to Oonagh by her father and handed later to Garech. The house there is a similarly exquisite Strawberry Hill Gothic pavilion. Luggalas wildness is just an hours drive from Dublin. Thackeray called the pavilion the best place for a honeymoon in the old British Isles. It has certainly seen many of these, official or otherwise.\nFreud is of all major painters the least troubled by twentieth-century pictorial innovation. His masters in the 1950s were Flemish: Memling and van der Weyden. His later and larger works are inspired by another Northern master: Frans Hals. Yet he is entirely of his own time in achieving an existential, even an alienated mood. You see this at once if you hang paintings of this period near heads by his friend Francis Bacon, who painted him many times, or oil portraits by Giacometti.\nThe fine-brush precision of the Garech head is matched only in Freuds work by his lost masterpiece: the 1952 small portrait head of Bacon. The writer Robert Hughes described this as having the silent intensity of a hand grenade about to go off. It was lifted from a loan exhibition in Berlin in 1988. It belongs to the Tate and is in my view the greatest disaster suffered by a national museum in the last fifty years.\nAn exact contemporary of mine, Garech was, since the late 1960s, one of my closest friends. The portrait captures his melancholy, contemplative and stoical disposition. He became the most important patron of the arts in Ireland of his time. He did not make donations. He wined and dined and accommodated artists incessantly. He listened to their troubles and their dreams. He bought their books and paintings and produced their music. Poets and native Irish musicians were of particular appeal. His Claddagh Records issued Kinsella, Kavanagh, Montagu, Heaney, Longley and Mahon; all poets of the first rank, as well as Beckett and MacDiarmid. He launched, too, the careers of Paddy Maloney and The Chieftains. Maloney, a great piper, played as Garechs ashes were cast on the grey waters of Lough Tay by Luggala. Lucian Freud caught the teenage Garech visually and psychologically. Freud infected him, too, at an impressionable age, with lifelong commitment to creative people.\nLord Gowrie was London chairman of Sothebys 1987-94\nHead of a Boy, 1956 delivers a portrait of quite remarkable emotional intensity. Executed on an intimate scale, it is at once tender, delicate, and transfixing; an exquisite testament to the superlative power of Lucian Freuds preoccupation with the single-figure portrait that sits at the very heart of his dynamic oeuvre which spanned over seven decades. Tightly composed and painstakingly rendered, it is a masterpiece of technique and manner, encapsulating the intensity of purpose, minute observation and evenness of treatment that marked him as a master of modern figuration. Indeed, there are few better examples of Herbert Reads acclamation that Freud was the Ingres of Existentialism (Herbert Read, Contemporary British Art, Harmondsworth 1951, rev. 1964, p. 35). Introspective and gazing downwards, Head of a Boy is intensely implosive. The unsparing vision with which Freud approached this portrait is characteristic of, and certainly draws comparisons to, the nineteenth-century master. And if Freud, as Robert Hughes once declared, was the worlds greatest living realist painter then it is the single-figure subject that best afforded the artist the opportunity of displaying his unquestionably masterful ability to capture the mood and furthermore the inner essence of his sitters.\nExecuted with fine sable brushstrokes and a delicate colour palette, Freuds fully frontal and squared-off portrait brilliantly captures the youthful features of its sitter and celebrates the artist's attentiveness to texture; the lustrous hair swept gently across the brow and jewel-like mottling of the almond-shaped eyes, accentuate dramatically the emotional landscape of the sitter. The subtle and continuous tempering in variations of colour and value is wrought with an observant delicacy; the pallor of delicate flesh is here articulated via a refined and persuasive stippling of warm, thin colours. This contrast between corporeal textures and minute analysis is powerfully evocative of the meticulous precision that was achieved by the Netherlandish masters of the Northern Renaissance. Albrecht Dürers linear precision is reflected in the hair, each strand rendered like skeins of golden filigree. Other details such as eyes, the lashes, and mouth undergo what the artist has described as involuntary magnification - the result of highly obsessive attention to them. For these smaller pictures of the early 1950s, Freud, as Catherine Lampert notes, set his easel so close to the subject that the surface of the painting acts as a thin barrier to whats underneath (Catherine Lampert in: Exh. Cat., Hazlitt Holland Hibbert, Lucian Freud Early Works 1950-58, 2008, p. 69).\nMeasuring only 18 by 18 cm, this painting boasts the focused scale that is consistent to works of this period; a size moreover, that bespeaks Freuds famously piercing gaze and unyielding control over his subject. As this painting demonstrates, there is no other artist who has been able to deliver such extraordinary impact within such a small arena. Speaking of this period Freud has commented, "I felt that the only way I could work properly was using absolute maximum observation and maximum concentration. I thought that by staring at my subject matter and examining it closely I could get something from it (Lucian Freud cited in: Exh. Cat., Venice, Museo Correr, Lucian Freud, 2005, p. 33). The intensity in Freuds pictures during this period was in part a function of scale. Control was paramount; he wanted to convey an almost febrile absorption in his subjects so it made sense for him to work at a scale much smaller than life size. Anything larger might have meant a loss of control. Similarly, the use of fine sable brushes suited the artist's precise analysis, and he achieved some of the most exactly observed paintings of the time in this medium, such as Boy Smoking (1950-1), and Girl Reading (1952). Most comparable is the legendary painting Francis Bacon of 1952, which took between two to three months to complete. Originally intended to hang in Wheelers, the Soho fish restaurant that Bacon visited daily, it is now tragically missing having been stolen from the Nationalgalerie, Berlin in 1988 when on loan from the Tate Gallery. While Robert Hughes likened this work to having "the silent intensity of a grenade in the millisecond before it goes off", Lawrence Gowing declared it "the most even and judicious deposit of pictorial information in all his work" (Lawrence Gowing, Lucian Freud, London 1982, p. 112).\nThe concentrated and unusual cropping of Freuds portraits creates a telescoping effect that draws us into his subjects. It echos the Egyptian Heads in Geschichte Aegyptens Freud's pillow-book, his painter's companion a tome that functioned like his Bible for sixty years. These heads have no names, no identities; as Freuds biographer, William Feaver, notes: two plaster heads from El-Amarna, from the workshop of Thutmose, chief sculptor to Akhenaten, the first Pharaoh to require portraits of himself to be recognizable rather than impersonally hieratic. Unidentifiable, inscrutable, unofficial, touching in their pride, worry, stoicism or indifference, the exemplary heads animate Still Life with Book, two paintings and an etching from 1991-1994 of what might appear to be a family album placed open on the bed. Besides demonstrating that anonymity does not detract from individuality, the El-Armarna heads have been talismans for Freud, sentinels of portraitures expressive possibilities (William Feaver in Exh. Cat., Venice, Museo Correr, Lucian Freud, 2005, p. 36). This is something that Freud translates directly into his own work; Head of a Boy, Girl in Bed, and Woman in a Shirt, are all examples in which Freud removes the narrative of the sitter (regardless of their prominence or notoriety), to enable the viewer to concentrate on the essence of the subject.\nHowever, it is an inescapable fact that Freuds fascination with the portrait is restricted solely to those closest to him and his everyday life in the places he was familiar with. Indeed, he has said that I work from people that interest me, and that I care about and think about, in rooms that I live and know (Lucian Freud cited in: John Russell, Lucian Freud, London 1974, p. 13). Apart from his self-portraits, he has portrayed other artists (such as Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach), friends and lovers, criminals and the aristocracy. Head of a Boy presents an entrancing window into the bond between Lucian Freud and his lifelong friend the Hon. Garech Browne a dedicated patron of Irish music, poetry and culture, Guinness heir, and last custodian to the magical Luggala estate in Ireland.\nAcross the eras that narrate the history of Luggala, there is none more fabled or storied as the mid-Twentieth Century. At its centre was Oonagh Lady Oranmore and Browne and the youngest daughter of Ernest Guinness one of the Golden Guinness Girls whose dazzling social circle and legendary hospitality lured an international spectrum of bright young things during the post-war era. Hollywood movie stars, actors, poets, politicians, political insurgents, artists and the aristocracy: all were in thrall to the siren call of Luggala. As described by screenwriter and film producer Michael Luke, Nobody could keep away Dublin intelligentsia, literati, painters, actors, scholars, hangers-on, toffs, punters, poets, social hang-gliders were attracted to Luggala as to nowhere else in Ireland perhaps even in Europe, from where many would come. And the still centre of this exultant, exuberant chaos was Oonagh (Robert OByrne, Luggala Days: The Story of a Guinness House, London and New York 2012, p. 136).\nLucian Freud first came to Ireland at the end of the 1940s during his first marriage to Kitty Garman the daughter of sculptor Jacob Epstein. Both settled in Dublin for a time, during which they were guests at Luggala: their names can be found within the illustrious pages of Luggalas guestbook. Before long, however, the nature of Freuds visits to Luggala changed. In 1952, Freud eloped with Oonaghs niece Lady Caroline Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood and they married later the following year. Freud thus became a frequent guest at Luggala, a destination that had already secured its reputation as a creative crucible frequented by a litany of raffish taste makers. It was during this period that Oonaghs eldest son Garech, from her second marriage to Dominick Geoffrey Edward Browne, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne, came of age and developed a friendship with the artist. In 1956, at the age of sixteen, Garech became the subject and owner of this extraordinary early masterpiece. The result is nothing short of astounding. Indeed, while seemingly placid and contemplative, this painting is laden with drama having been created at Luggalas social height and during a potentially fractious moment in the course of Freuds marriage to Caroline Blackwood; by 1957, barely a year after the present work was completed, they had separated.\nHaving resisted institutionalisation from a young age, Garech completed his school years without any official qualifications, instead preferring to nurture his love of Irish art, poetry and music. He relished live performances by musicians in his house and in turn attracted many visitors to Luggala. The visitors book highlights the diversity of musicians who spent time at the house from 1970: singer Dolores Keane, composer Frederick May, singers, pop and rock musicians Marianne Faithfull, Sting, Bono, The Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson. In 1959 he founded Claddagh Records, which is credited with the revival of the Irish music genre, producing bands including The Chieftains. By the end of his life, Garech was one of Irelands most colourful and influential figures in the fields of art, poetry and music. However, of all the influential and famous people that frequented Luggala, perhaps the person from whom I learned most, explained Garech Browne, was Lucian Freud (Garech Browne cited in: ibid.).\nHead of a Boy is at once a remarkable testament to the utter brilliance of Freud as an artist, a poignant document of an era and its notorious characters, and a tremendous tribute to Hon. Garech Browne. Following in his mothers footsteps, Garech continued the legacy of legendary Guinness hospitality at Luggala with flamboyant aplomb whilst developing and nurturing his own love of Irish culture and its music. As friend to the late Garech Browne and frequent guest at Luggala, the late actor Sir John Hurt once uttered: [Garech] is custodian of this valley of Luggala. He nurtures it as he nurtures Irish music and poetry Here he collects poets and pipers, Druids, drunks, landed and stranded gentry. He likes to have his friends about him; when they die he keeps their death mask close at hand. And indeed their hands. His own likeness by Lucian Freud is a death mask of his youth (John Hurt cited in: ibid., p. 240).\nIn this entrancing portrait, Freud captures an intensely private moment, and in doing so he succeeds in grasping the pure essence of humanity, a feat that lies at the core of his greater oeuvre which he achieved through a meticulous observation of the most important people in his life. Freud noted that his aim in painting was to try and move the senses by giving an intensification of reality. Whether this can be achieved depends on how intensely the painter understands and feels for the person of his choice (Lucian Freud, Some Thoughts on Painting, op. cit, p. 23). Throughout his renowned career Freud lived and practiced by this maxim, translating his physical circumstances, experiences, and relationships into compositions that communicate universal truths of human psychology and emotion. His corpus is replete with canvases that capture within their borders instances of intense intimacy and privacy; his work reads as a dedicated and minute study of personal human moments.\nOf this extraordinary moment in time the present work by Lucian Freud speaks to both the history of Luggala, Garech Browne and the history of art, in equally important measure. It comprises a captivating nexus of spell-binding social history and crucial cultural milestones. Rarely exhibited yet well known within Freuds historical canon, Head of a Boy (1956) unassailably broadcasts the hallmarks of a twentieth-century legend.
GB
GB
GB

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Freud, Lucian

condition

Colour: The colours in the catalogue illustration are fairly accurate although the overall tonality is slightly deeper and richer in the original. Condition: Please refer to the department for a professional condition report. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

dimensions

18 by 18 cm. 7 by 7 in.

exhibition

Marlborough Fine Art Limited, Lucian Freud - Paintings, March - April 1958, n.p., no. 20 (text) London, Hayward Gallery; Bristol, Bristol City Art Gallery; Birmingham, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery; and Leeds, Leeds City Museum and Art Gallery, Lucian Freud, January - June 1974, p. 47, no. 70, illustrated (incorrectly dated) Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art; Louisiana, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; and The Hague, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Lucian Freud, June 2007 - June 2008, p. 37, illustrated in colour Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Moderns, October 2010 - February 2011

literature

Lawrence Gowing, Lucian Freud, London 1982, p. 109, no. 85, illustrated (incorrectly dated) Bruce Bernard and Derek Birdsall, Eds., Lucian Freud, London 1996, n.p., no. 86, illustrated in colour (incorrectly dated) William Feaver, Lucian Freud, New York 2007, p. 120, no. 84, illustrated in colour Robert O’Byrne, Luggala Days: The Story of a Guinness House, New York 2012, pp. 124 and 221, illustrated in colour (on the wall of the drawing room at Luggala); p. 193, illustrated in colour James Reginato, Great Houses, Modern Aristocrats, New York 2016, p. 64, illustrated in colour 

provenance

The Hon. Garech Browne, Ireland (acquired directly from the artist in 1956)

artist_range_end

2011

artist_range_start

1922

consignmentDesignation

Property from the Collection of the Hon. Garech Browne

creator_nationality_dates

1922 - 2011


*Beachten Sie, dass der Preis nicht auf den aktuellen Wert umgerechnet wird, sondern sich auf den tatsächlichen Endpreis zum Zeitpunkt des Verkaufs des Objekts bezieht.

*Beachten Sie, dass der Preis nicht auf den aktuellen Wert umgerechnet wird, sondern sich auf den tatsächlichen Endpreis zum Zeitpunkt des Verkaufs des Objekts bezieht.


Advert
Advert

Verkaufte Objekte

Study for a Head
Verkauft

Study for a Head

Erzielter Preis
44,888,580 EUR

Head of a muse
Verkauft

Head of a muse

Erzielter Preis
31,960,730 EUR

Head of a Young Apostle
Verkauft

Head of a Young Apostle

Erzielter Preis
36,616,580 EUR

Study for Head of George Dyer
Verkauft

Study for Head of George Dyer

Erzielter Preis
17,380,459 EUR

Female Head
Verkauft

Female Head

Erzielter Preis
21,022,287 EUR

Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac
Verkauft

Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac

Erzielter Preis
18,008,962 EUR

Verkauft

Head III

Erzielter Preis
12,196,840 EUR

Verkauft

Head with Raised Arm

Erzielter Preis
13,011,089 EUR

Verkauft

Untitled (Head of Madman)

Erzielter Preis
8,835,158 EUR

Verkauft

Blue Heads

Erzielter Preis
7,930,870 EUR