Friday, December 5, 2008

What to Put on Barbies Walls

Lucien Freuds' painting Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995) sold for $33 million this past May, a record for a painting by a living artist. I'm kind of wanting to use a mini version of it for the interior of the Barbie house I'm working on. But no, that is cruel. I'll give my daughters a Barbie house that is pretty and bright with no social statement attached. Also, I'm imaging that awkward moment when their friends leave our house and tell their parents, "...and their mom made them a doll house and pasted pictures of naked, fat ladies on the wall".

I've always liked Freuds work. He's known for his stark painterly portraits that never romanticize the subject. He paints flesh, exaggerating folds and crevices like some kind of figurative topographer. His painting of a pregnant Kate Moss is unlike the Kate Moss we're used to seeing. And if this queen was a 15th century one, he just might lose his head. He gets to the blood and guts of what people are, which is...blood and guts. To me, his art makes more accurate statements about the human condition than anything his dopey grandpa said.


Tracy said...

I love Lucien Freud, Doug gave me a book of his figures awhile ago and I look at it all the time. Oddly inspiring while I have been working on my figurative stuff.

dinahmow said...

Yes, I,too,can imagine other parents' reactions to such decor!
I'm off now to compare Freud's Queen with the Annigoni portrait;granted, that was years ago and was an "official" likeness.I bet this one isn't reproduced on stamps and coins!

self taught artist said...

youre a nut
for as strange as your neighbor kids would think you are, part of me is jealous that as a mom you know who this artist is, that you have such knowledge about art and so much more to share with your children than your average mom out there (at least when I was a kid no one I knew told me about art or ANYTHING).

Ellen said...

Tracy: He's great isn't he? There is one painting, I think called 'Sleeping Head' I really like. A bit ugly and beautiful at the same time. I think that's such rich combination in the aesthetics of paintings.

Dinah: I'll have to check out Annigoni's portrait, Freud's has a bit of a man in drag look to it.

Paula: You know for whatever bit of knowledge I possess, the kids show zero interest in art, even though I think they're fabulously talented of course (no chance of being objective here). My parents weren't into art either, but we grew up with tons of books about so many different subjects lying around. Me and my siblings devoured them and still do.

GEM said...

As much as i love Freud's paintings, i have yet to see one in actuality. i am really jealous of my son and daughter-in-law who spent one day at the Tate Modern at the big freud retrospective a couple of summers ago. They did bring me the latest book on his recent paintings, for which i am grateful.
As an interesting contrast to Freud, check out the work of contemporary American painter, Jerome Witkin - he is also a fabulous figurative painter, not as visceral in handling paint as Freud, but also powerful in his own way. GEM

Ellen said...

GEM: Thanks for the artist suggestion, will definitely check it out. I haven't seen a Freud in person either. I imagine it would be an especially different experience, with such an impasto painter. And scale is such a big deal when putting up jpgs of art online. The Freud painting I posted is actually really big (pun sort of intended).