Lucian Freud made several etchings in the 1940s, and only started to make them again much later in his career. This piece, from 1996, is a study of a woman, and the physicality of flesh is rendered in black ink on white wove Somerset paper. The plate was left unwiped for printing, creating a background tone on the paper that adds depth to the detailed piece. The high realism and attention to detail that he is known for in his paintings of nudes are present here in monochrome.
Woman with an Arm Tattoo
Date of work
Original: Etching on paper 596 x 816 mm Tate. Presented anonymously 1997 © 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.