Lucian Freud: Real Lives at Tate Liverpool

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Lucian Freud: Real Lives at Tate Liverpool
Lucian Freud, Girl with a White Dog 1950-1 © Tate

Lucian Freud: Real Lives at Tate Liverpool, Waterfront 24 July 2021 — 16 January 2022 Tickets from £5 — Book now

Lucian Freud’s portraits never fail to make an impact. The raw, psychologically-charged, excoriating depictions they offer of his sitters and of himself – of the human condition, no less – have an extreme level of honesty that pierces the conventions of politeness; both daring us to look whilst preventing us from looking away (he was the grandson of Sigmund Freud, after all). Now, almost exactly one decade after his death, Tate Liverpool is presenting Real Lives – the first major display of the artist’s work in the North West in over 30 years – celebrating his achievements as one of the great masters of modern portraiture.

The exhibition features some of Freud’s most iconic paintings and etchings from across his 60-year-long career, as well as photographs (taken by Cecil Beaton, Bruce Bernard, and David Dawson, among others) that provide an intimate glimpse into his rather guarded personal life. He frequently painted his friends and family, and a curatorial decision has been made to organise his work into clusters of portraits of those who repeatedly sat for him over the years; Real Lives will highlight both his evolving relationships and stylistic developments.

The show will also provide examples of the painter’s unconventional approach to etching and printmaking. Freud treated the etching plate like a canvas by standing the copper upright on an easel and working directly from life, demarcating his model’s form through meticulous networks of finely etched lines that provide a rich counterbalance to the impasto style of many of his canvases. Portraits of the same sitter in paint and print offer a striking emphasis upon this.

Beyond stylistic innovation, however, Freud strove for his sitters to provide the driving force in his work and each portrait he made was the result of the intense conversations and space that was shared over the course of its making. Real Lives is a rare opportunity to step into the artist’s world and spend some time with the people that populated it.

Lucian Freud: Real Lives at Tate Liverpool, Waterfront 24 July 2021 — 16 January 2022 Tickets from £5 Book now

What's on at Tate Liverpool

Where to go near Lucian Freud: Real Lives at Tate Liverpool

Albert Dock Liverpool
Waterfront
Gallery
Royal Albert Dock

Liverpool’s Albert Dock is a reliably great day or night out, and here’s what’s on offer there over the Christmas weeks.

Rosa's Thai Cafe
Liverpool
Restaurant
Rosa’s Thai Cafe

Rosa’s Thai Cafe is another great addition to Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock, serving up delicious and authentic Thai food in stylish surroundings, with wonderfully charming staff.

Liverpool
Restaurant
Madre Liverpool

A smart, modern Mexican restaurant in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, with an extensive menu featuring showstopping dishes such as half a pig’s head and butterflied sea bass.

Wild Shore Liverpool
Liverpool
Tourist Attraction
Wild Shore Liverpool

Situated in the Royal Albert Dock this bonanza of slipping, sliding, clinging on for dear life and ultimately splashing into the water is riotous fun.

Waterfront
Gallery
RIBA North

RIBA North is the new national architecture centre on the Liverpool Waterfront.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.