Lucian Freud, ‘Pluto Aged Twelve’, 2000, ARCHEUS/POST-MODERN

Printed by Marc Balakjian at Studio Prints, London, on Somerset Textured White paper.

Freud's second etching of his whippet Pluto, the first having been of the dog as a sleeping puppy in 1988, is an affectionate portrait as it comes to the end of its life. In fact Pluto would live for another three years, but Freud most probably had concerns about the dog's health, given the crossed fingers of David Dawson's hand, which is allowed to enter the top right of the picture plane. The hand is reported to have been included after its presence in the composition became part of the story, Dawson having to stroke the dog constantly to keep it still during the long hours Freud required to draw it. The hand provides symbolism however, especially if one notices the crossed fingers, and also balances the composition.

Pluto Aged Twelve is regarded as one of the finest animal portraits of the last century, and a masterpiece of modern printmaking.

Signature: Signed and numbered by the artist

Publisher: Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Lucian Freud: The Painter's Etchings, 16 Dec 2007-10 Mar 2008 (another impression exhibited and illustrated p.121); London, National Portrait Gallery, Lucian Freud: Portraits, 9 Feb-27 May 2012 (another impression exhibited and illustrated p.198)

Figura 91; Howgate 126; Smee 45; Feaver 303

Private collection, USA

About Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud is considered one of the most important figurative painters of the 20th and 21st centuries. The son of architect Ernst Freud and grandson of Sigmund Freud, Lucian Freud’s early artistic practice was characterized by a meticulously realistic approach to painting. In the mid-1950s, however, Freud diverged from this previous approach 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. Though his style continued to evolve throughout his 70 years of painting, Freud consistently focused on translating his direct perceptions, however subjective, onto the canvas, resulting in portraits that are honest, tender, and psychologically complex.

British, 1922-2011, Berlin, Germany, based in London, United Kingdom