Selected by Jamie Anderson

LUCIAN FREUD, Encarnation in the Square – Annie, 1968


‘Encarnation in the Square’ depicts Lucian Freud’s daughter (with his first wife Kitty Epstein), Annie. Annie was rehearsing a play of the same name, for which they intended the drawing as an advertisement poster but after several rehearsals the play was never performed. William Feaver, author of 'The Lives of Lucian Freud', remarked that Freud purportedly provided effusive advice on Annie’s rehearsals as well as producing several flyers for her various performances, of which very few survive. Some years later, Freud used the drawing as a basis for a poster design for his exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1974. The drawing was gifted to Annie on her graduation and later returned to Lucian who sold it to Raymond Jones, ‘The Man with the Rat’, a sitter and friend of Lucian, renowned for his nude portrait with a rat by the artist.


Annie’s foray into acting – something which her father had promoted – was short lived due to stage fright. She is now an acclaimed poet but for years lived in the shadow of her father and their extraordinary wider family. Lucian famously painted a nude portrait Annie aged 14 which, although tender and reserved by Freud’s own standards, was greeted with a considerable degree of shock at the time.


Born in Berlin in 1922, Lucian was grandson of the psychologist Sigmund Freud. He moved with his family to London in 1933 to avoid the persecution of the Jews in Germany under the Nazi regime. After attending the Central School of Art and Goldsmiths College, he befriended Francis Bacon and formed part of the loose and distinctly bohemian ‘School of London’ painters, whose number also included Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff and Michael Andrews. Bacon’s early fame and success was at odds with the experiences of the other artists who gathered in the drinking clubs and restaurants of London’s Soho. Freud and his contemporaries, although regarded now as some of the finest British painters of the 20th century, were largely ignored by the art establishment during the early part of their careers. Their highly expressive and figurative work couldn’t have been more at odds with the cool consumerism of Pop art or nascent minimalist and conceptual art trends.

By the time the present drawing was executed, Freud’s early manner and restrained style had morphed into his mature style, which is richly expressive with his commanding portraits often completed at life size. In 1983 Freud was appointed a Companion of Honour, and a member of the Order of Merit in 1993. Today, his works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Tate Gallery in London, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, among others.


LUCIAN FREUD (British 1922-2011)

Encarnation in the Square – Annie, 1968

Signed & dated

Ink on paper

15 3/4 x 14 3/4 in
40 x 37.5 cm

May 17, 2021