In October 2013, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna will open the first exhibition of paintings by Lucian Freud ever to have been presented in Austria. The selection of works was made with the close personal involvement of the artist during the months prior to his death in July 2011.
The exhibition has two primary objectives. Broadly speaking, it presents a survey of Freud’s entire working life, a period of almost 70 years, and includes many of his most important and well-known paintings. Among the portraits of his family, friends and fellow artists, self-portraits, landscapes and still lives are major loans from museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate, London; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Art Gallery of Western Australia; and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, in addition to others borrowed from Freud’s most important private patrons in Europe and the US.
A more specific intention of the exhibition is to explore, at first hand, Freud’s lifelong interest in historical art, in painters and draughtsmen such as Dürer, Holbein, Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, Velázquez, Chardin and Watteau, and in sculptors leading back to Egyptian antiquity. Freud was familiar with the collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum from an early age. Reproductions of well-known paintings including Bruegel’s Seasons and masterpieces by Dürer and Titian hung in his childhood home in Berlin, gifts of his grandfather Sigmund Freud.
The exhibition is curated by Jasper Sharp, Adjunct Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
To accompany the exhibition, the Kunsthistorisches Museum has organized a program of lectures, talks, film screenings, and guided tours. In addition, the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna will present concurrently an exhibition of photographs by Freud’s longtime assistant David Dawson titled "Lucian Freud: In Private".