Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Freud: Boy's Head

Legend has it that Charlie Lumley, the subject of Lucian Freud's Boy's Head (1952), was a young cat burglar whom Freud caught raiding his property in Delamere Terrace, London, and blackmailed him into sitting for him. According to Charlie, he and his brother Billy were neighbours who had no keys to their home. So they used to climb up a pole next to a pillar to gain access to a big Victorian balcony and enter through the front window. Another neighbour, a retired greengrocer, used to comment “Bloody cat burglar!” whenever he saw Charlie returning by this unusual route. That's how Charlie and Billy met "Lu" Freud, became his sitters and made friends with him. Boy's Head comes up for auction at Sotheby’s in London on 13 October, estimated value £3-4 million (title link). Despite the auctioneer's rave blurb, this is no masterpiece; Charlie's larger-than-life eyes point in different directions. CLICK to view Billy Lumley.


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