England (1922 - 2011)
Hotel Bedroom, 1954
oil on canvas
91.1 x 61.0 cm
Gift of The Beaverbrook Foundation
Born in Berlin in 1922, Lucian Freud moved to London with his family in 1933 fearful of the rise of Adolph Hitler. He was the son of Ernest Freud, an architect, and the grandson of the eminent Sigmund Freud.
Lucian studied art in a number of schools, then did illustration work while he continued to paint. 1946 found Lucian in Paris, visiting famed artists and exploring new mediums. He traveled there often in the next few years, including a trip with his girlfriend and soon-to-be wife, Kitty Garman. They wed in 1948, and had two children. Their marriage ended in 1953, after he ran off to Paris with Lady Caroline Blackwood, the witty, beautiful, and brittle Guinness heiress. They married that same year and would spend the days in what has been described as mammoth drinking sessions, followed by Lucian’s all-night painting binges.
Lady Blackwood is pictured in Hotel Bedroom, with Freud himself in shadow in the background. Much has been written about Blackwood in the painting, ranging from depression to dead drunk, both plausible as they became themes in her life. Whatever her state, Freud is showing us a marriage in decline, and indeed the two divorced in 1957.