Gagosian is pleased to announce Friends and Relations: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews, opening on November 17 at the gallery’s Grosvenor Hill location in London. Taking as its inspiration a famous John Deakin photograph of the four painters in Soho in 1963 (along with much younger painter Timothy Behrens, the subject of a portrait by Freud that is on view), the exhibition elucidates the connections between their respective practices, and also features some of the artists’ portraits of each other.
Curated by art historian Richard Calvocoressi, Friends and Relations contextualizes key works by four era-defining artists. Featuring more than forty paintings from private and public collections, it positions Freud—in the centenary year of his birth—as the grouping’s central figure. Each painter was aware of the others’ practices, to the extent of occasionally competing with one another, but of the four, Freud alone collected his friends’ work. At various times throughout his life, he owned paintings by Bacon. At his death, he owned sixteen by Auerbach and one small oil by Andrews. The exhibition includes two portraits by Auerbach formerly in Freud’s collection, on loan from British museums.
Portraiture was at the heart of Freud’s, Bacon’s, Auerbach’s, and, less directly, Andrews’s practices. The exhibition’s title echoes not only the four artists’ camaraderie and interrelationships, but also the intimate relationships between artist and sitter, including artist and lover, partner, and offspring. Girl in a Dark Jacket (1947) exemplifies Freud’s crisp, early style and depicts Kitty Garman, his first wife and the daughter of sculptor Jacob Epstein and Kathleen Garman; Naked Portrait on a Red Sofa (1989–91), praised by his friend, photographer Bruce Bernard, as “one of Freud’s most audacious and sensitive works,” shows the reclining figure of the artist’s daughter, Bella. The Painter’s Mother Resting III (1977) is an early entry in a series of portraits of the artist’s mother, Lucie Freud, which he began after the death of his father, Ernst Freud, in 1970.
The intense friendship between Freud and Bacon is commemorated in the latter’s Three Studies for Portraits: Isabel Rawsthorne, Lucian Freud and J.H. (1966), in which Freud’s head is paired with those of John Hewitt, a dealer in antiquities and ethnographic art, and Rawsthorne, a close friend and fellow artist whom Bacon represented in many other paintings. Another highlight is Portrait of a Man Walking Down Steps (1972), a tribute by Bacon to his lover George Dyer, who committed suicide the previous year, the day before the opening of the artist’s 1971 retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris.
A selection of Auerbach’s work includes E.O.W., S.A.W. and J.J.W. in the Garden I (1963), a full-length portrait of his lover and frequent model, Stella West, and her family outdoors. Also included is Head of Gerda Boehm (1964), which depicts Auerbach’s much older cousin, who was, like him, a refugee from Nazi Germany. On loan from the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia, the work’s dense accretion of paint epitomizes Auerbach’s approach during this era. Elsewhere the exhibition reflects the deep relationship that both Auerbach and Freud have enjoyed with the cityscape of London as a source of motifs.
Andrews’s ambitious group portrait The Colony Room I (1962) is on loan from Pallant House Gallery, Chichester. Set in Soho’s storied drinking club, it pictures Andrews’s own mural in the background, with the figures of Freud, Bacon, Bernard, artist’s model Henrietta Moraes, and the club’s proprietor, Muriel Belcher, identifiable in the foreground. Melanie and Me Swimming (1978–79), loaned to the exhibition by the Tate, depicts the artist teaching his daughter to swim in a river in Scotland.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue including installation views of the show and featuring essays essays by Martin Gayford and Florence Hallett, and an interview with Frank Auerbach by Richard Calvocoressi.
Also on view at Grosvenor Hill will be a selection of photographs of the four artists by their friend, the distinguished picture editor, writer, and photographer, Bruce Bernard (1928–2000). Complementing the paintings in Friends and Relations, Bernard’s portraits of the artists in their studios—some of which are exhibited publicly for the first time—are both direct and informal. The painter Virginia Verran, who represents Bernard’s estate, notes: “The link between painting and photography was a vital one throughout his life and the chance to bring his photographs together with paintings in this way is a profound one.”
For reasons of safety and security, Gagosian has a cloakroom policy in place for this exhibition. Oversized items, backpacks, and large bags are not permitted into the exhibition galleries but must be checked into the cloakroom upon arrival. Small bags will be allowed into the exhibition galleries subject to the owners agreeing that these items may need to be inspected by security upon entering or exiting the building.
Friends and Relations: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews
Join Jake Auerbach, Richard Calvocoressi, Bella Freud, Martin Gayford, and Florence Hallett as they discuss the work and legacy of four era-defining artists. Friends and Relations: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews, on view at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, elucidates the connections between their respective practices, and also features some of the artists’ portraits of each other.
Frank Auerbach: Artist Friends
In this candid interview with Richard Calvocoressi, the painter Frank Auerbach reminisces on his friendships with Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, and Lucian Freud. The two spoke during the planning of the exhibition Friends and Relations, a show that examines the interconnected lives and art practices of this group of London painters.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2022
The Winter 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Anna Weyant’s Two Eileens (2022) on its cover.
Bruce Bernard: Portraits of Friends
Virginia Verran details the photographer’s friendships with the London painters.
Francis Bacon: The First Pope
Richard Calvocoressi tells the story of Francis Bacon’s first image of the pope, ‘Landscape with Pope/Dictator’, c. 1946.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2022
The Summer 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, with two different covers—featuring Takashi Murakami’s 108 Bonnō MURAKAMI.FLOWERS (2022) and Andreas Gursky’s V & R II (2022).
Films about Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach by Jake Auerbach
Monday, January 23, 2023, 2pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London
Join Gagosian for a film program with Jake Auerbach, a filmmaker specializing in documentaries on artists including R. B. Kitaj, Celia Paul, Paula Rego, and Walter Sickert. The four selected films focus on his father, Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud, offering insight into the artists’ lives and work, and will be screened inside the exhibition Friends and Relations: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews, giving the audience a unique viewing experience. Each screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Jake Auerbach.
Lucian Freud in his studio, London, 1989. Photo: Julia Auerbach
On Bruce Bernard and Lucian Freud with Bella Freud, Celia Paul, and Virginia Verran
Moderated by Richard Calvocoressi
Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 6:30pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London
Join Gagosian for a conversation between Bella Freud, Celia Paul, and Virginia Verran, moderated by Gagosian director and art historian Richard Calvocoressi, on the occasion of the exhibitions Bruce Bernard: Portraits of Friends and Friends and Relations: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews, both at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, from November 17, 2022, to January 28, 2023. Virginia Verran, who represents Bruce Bernard’s estate, will discuss his photographs of the four artists from Friends and Relations in their studios, while fashion designer Bella Freud, Lucian Freud’s daughter, and artist Celia Paul—subjects of some of the painter’s most significant and intimate portraits—will recount their experiences of sitting for Lucian Freud’s paintings and in front of Bruce Bernard’s camera.
Bruce Bernard, 4: Bella Freud, Celia Paul and Lucian Freud in his studio, 1983 © Estate of Bruce Bernard (courtesy Virginia Verran)