Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lucien Freud at MOMA

This morning I met Ellen, a coworker currently decamped to the movie-less wilds of central Massachusetts, at MOMA to see a show of engravings by Lucien Freud, a British painter whose work we both like very, very much. The engravings were wonderful and we were delighted that there were a few medium small oils among them. Freud [a grandson of Sigmund] does not make engravings as studies for his paintings, they may be the same subect -- these were mostly portraits -- but are done entirely afresh. He captures a dourness that seems especially British to us. He also does nudes of obese people, men and women, pitiless in their accuracy but also with honesty that comes of acceptance of humanity as it is with all it's lumps and bumps, folds of flesh and mottled skin. Often at art shows one piece will be oddly wonderful and memorable. For me, in this show, it was a tiny oil, about 6x6 inches of a hefty nude on the small sofa that is in so many Freud works, it was foreshortened and contorted into a square as if fitted into a box, and yet remained as sensitive as the much larger pieces.

A couple or three of the copper plates were included which was fascinating to see. It is such a labor intensive form of art I wonder that great painters bother with it. Why don't they just do pencil or ink drawings? Perhaps I should read some biographies and look for an answer.

Ellen and I are both fond of the "new" MOMA building, the spaces and use of them. We had lunch in one of the two cafes, very good food, efficiently served, a menu with much interest enticing one to come back and try other items.

The picture below is one I have had on the camera since Christmas eve day when I went for a walk in the damp, rather warm midmorning. I went past the Museum of Natural History and saw this dinosauer "tree" which had small lights mixed in with its foliage.

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