Biography of a Wild Sigma
So how did Lucian Freud manage to lure so many girls — most of them upper-crust and some many decades younger? Part of his allure, as his picture framer, Louise Liddell, put it simply, was that ‘he was dishy — always was.’
Even in his 80s, Lucian could walk into a room and turn heads. In his studio, he’d sit in a chair with his legs slung over its arms, almost louche in his pose and flexible as a teenager. And he had a magical ability to charm.
Intellect and emotion collided in his life, as he used people to whom he was attracted to produce pictures which captured an intensely observed truth.
He believed the human body was the most profound subject and he pursued a ruthless process of observation, using the forensic exactitude of a scientist dissecting an animal in a laboratory. His paintings were always more analytical than psychoanalytical; he never intended them to have a narrative. They merely showed what he saw and if the oddity of a zebra, rat or protruding leg gave rise to psychological interpretation, he would insist that he had merely painted what was before him.The Greek sculptor Vassilakis Takis, who knew him well, estimated that Lucian had at least 500 lovers but never committed himself to any single woman for long.
- Extreme need for privacy
- Severe introversion and pathological aloofness, even outright arrogance
- Extremely charming when he wanted to be
- Disregard, even outright contempt, for the rues and regulations of "polite" society
- An obsessive, calculating genius
- Absolute socio-sexual dominance- when required
- Very little tolerance for other people's nonsense
She was astonished by the sheer intensity of his focus while painting her: ‘I saw him stab himself with a paintbrush, wounding his thigh so that it bled,’ she said. ‘It was, he explained to me, like being the jockey and the racehorse, urging on with a manic compulsion.’