This picture is of Freud’s first wife, Kitty, during her pregnancy. The title does not refer to her by name; the model’s anonymity was a recurring theme in the naming of his work. This painting is an example of Freud’s evolving style in the early 1950s – moving deeper into realism and exploration of skin tones, but before the large brushstrokes and thick textures of the rendered flesh characteristic of his mature style.
Girl with a White Dog
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 762 x 1016 mm Tate. Purchased 1952 © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images
Lucian Michael Freud (1922 – 2011) was a British painter and draftsman, and is considered one of the foremost 20th-century portraitists. Although his early work contained surrealist elements, he is best known for his figurative paintings more heavily influenced by realism and intense observation. Most of his models were friends and family members, and this relationship between artist and model, often unsettling or uncomfortable, is a central theme to his work. His reputation for demanding schedules for these models was well established, with one painting taking approximately 2,400 hours to complete and requiring the model to attend all but four evenings of that time.