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Sketch of Goldie

Lucian Freud

circa 2003

Charcoal sketch on canvas

Lucian Freud’s Sketch of Goldie provides a rare insight into how the artist embarked on canvas, first sketching his subject in charcoal then working it up with oil rags dipped in turps. The result is highly gestural: a canvas that possesses the physicality of a painting yet the delicacy of a drawing. Both image and line give clear vent to Goldie’s restless energy, while the work itself was Freud’s parting gift to his much-cherished Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre and the warm welcome its founder and director Mary Joy Langdon and the community there always offered him.

The Wormwood Scrubs Pony centre is a registered charity providing riding and equine therapy to children, specializing in those with special needs and physical disabilities. Between 2003 and 2005 Lucian Freud was its unofficial ‘artist in residence’. Setting up a temporary studio, Freud’s regular visits to the centre combined his love of horses, riding and painting.

Lucian Freud is considered one of the most important figurative painters of the 20th and 21st centuries. Freud’s early artistic practice was characterized by a meticulously realistic approach to painting. In the mid- 1950s Freud diverged from this in favor of looser brushwork and richer application of color. Freud directed his modified technique and deeply probing gaze toward the discipline of portraiture, which has come to be the core of his oeuvre.