‘Angst-ridden' portrait of Lucian Freud to go on display

It will be shown at Tate Britain's All Too Human exhibition next year.

A portrait of Lucian Freud by the painter’s friend Francis Bacon is going on display for the first time in half a century.

The 6ft-high work shows Freud “angst-ridden”, bare-chested and curled into the corner of a dark room beneath a lightbulb.

It will be shown at Tate Britain’s All Too Human exhibition next year, as the show examines how artists capture the “intense experiences of life” in paint.

Bacon’s painting has only been seen in public twice before, shortly after it was completed in London in 1964 and then in Hamburg and Stockholm the following year.

The painters had a deep and complex friendship, and were often seen as rivals.

Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, Triptych 1974-77 (Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd)

They were inseparable for years after first meeting in the mid-1940s, seeing each other almost daily in Soho’s bars and clubs as well as visiting each other’s studios.

The painting, now in private hands, was originally part of a triptych which Bacon then split into separate works.

Tate’s exhibition will also feature works by Walter Sickert, Stanley Spencer, Frank Auerbach, RB Kitaj and Paula Rego among others.

It will also examine the role of women artists in the traditionally male-dominated field of figurative painting.

Other paintings on loan to the show include a nude portrait of Bacon’s lover Peter Lacy, a Bacon triptych from 1974-77 and his final homage to George Dyer, the great love of his life.

Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson said: “This will be an unmissable opportunity to see some truly extraordinary paintings, many of which have not been seen for decades.

“With this exhibition we want to show how British figurative painters found new and powerful ways to capture life on canvas throughout the 20th Century, and Bacon’s portraits are some of the greatest examples of that endeavour.”

All Too Human: Bacon, Freud And A Century Of Painting Life will be at Tate Britain from February 28 to August 27 next year.

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