Lucian Freud’s Fat Lady Sings

Jeremy Sigler in Tablet:

British painter Lucien Freud became the world’s priciest living artist at an auction when his graceful portrait of a 280-pound civil servant named Sue Tilley sold for £17 million at Christie’s International in New York.

No matter how regressive or irrelevant a painter you think he is, you have to admit Freud has always made headlines. According to one tabloid journalist, back in his prime, Freud did well with women, snagging the gorgeous socialite Lady Caroline Blackwood. She became his second wife and the subject of many early portraits, but also ushered him into the jet set, and off to Paris to flirt with the likes of Picasso. Another gossipy writer offered that Freud is believed to have sired somewhere in the double digits illegitimate children with countless mistresses. I also read somewhere online that Freud inked a million-dollar bird tattoo on the supermodel Kate Moss’ dimples of Venus. (It seems to have occurred when the two were palling around—Kate was pregnant and modeling for a painting.) You might say Freud was grandfathered in to the “over 80 and still pinching ass” club—he was a tolerated, incorrigible, narcissistic predator before he died in 2011 at age 88.

Does the thought of Freud trigger a different set of emotions and warrant a more sympathetic evaluation?

More here.