Lucian Freud (British (born Germany), Berlin 1922–2011 London)
Matthew Marks Gallery
Plate: 27 5/16 x 21 5/16 in. (69.4 x 54.1 cm) Sheet: 32 1/2 x 26 1/8 in. (82.6 x 66.4 cm)
Bequest of William S. Lieberman, 2005
Not on view
Among Freud’s most recognizable muses was the Australian performance artist Leigh Bowery (1961–1994). Freud met Bowery in 1988 and made numerous paintings and etchings of him before his death. Bowery was known for using elaborate costumes and makeup in his acts, yet Freud chose to show him naked and without props in this intimate composition. Freud sought to capture what he described as "the inner life" of his subjects—as well as his relationship or reaction to each person—as opposed to performances or affected behavior. By tightly cropping the image, Freud created a sense of vulnerability that is heightened by Bowery’s closed eyes, which make him appear as if he were sleeping.
Signature: In graphite at lower right: "L.F."
Inscription: In graphite at lower left: 13/40
William S. Lieberman; Donor: William S. Lieberman Donor: Estate of William S. Lieberman
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," June 23, 2015–September 28, 2015.