Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lucian Freud at Capel Curig

In November 1939 a 17-year-old Lucian Freud and his art school chum David Kentish rented a miner's cottage at Capel Curig, north Wales. They would reside there for three months, spending their time sketching and painting. Freud took with him a couple of unfinished canvasses to work on. One of these was of a box of apples. Freud added the bare, treeless Welsh landscape and the painting became known as Box of Apples in Wales (1939) (see pic). It's probably his best-known early work. In January of 1940 Freud and Kentish were joined in Capel Curig by writer Stephen Spender, who was working on his novel The Backward Son (1940). Freud filled a sketch book (168 drawings) with pictures of Spender and Kentish, as well as of horses, fish, whales and distorted limbs. These early Welsh drawings were the subject of an exhibition at the Matthew Mark Gallery, New York, in 2003. Freud later described them as "private and rather perverse".