Lucian Freud's homosexual relationships are featured in an exhibition in England

From July 10 to Sept. 19, 2021, the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, England, is hosting an exhibition that delves into Lucian Freud's gay relationships in 1940s and 1950s London.

Titled Freud, Minton, Ryan: unholy trinity, the exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, England, explores the homosexual relationships entertained by the great painter Lucian Freud (Berlin, 1922 - London, 2011) with Adrian Ryan (Hampton, 1920 - 1998) and John Minton (Cambridge, 1917 - London, 1957). The exhibition, curated by Julian Machin and on view from July 10 to Sept. 19, 2021, takes the public back to the art world of prewar London, when the three artists were colleagues and friends. As ambitious figurative painters with promising career prospects, all three explored, in the secrecy of their rooms, a relaxed intimacy (including sexual intimacy), especially during the war years.

The title, Unholy trinity, could be translated as “Unholy trinity,” although the real relationship, according to the curator, was between Freud and Ryan, with Minton acting as facilitator. After Minton’s suicide, Ryan and Freud became estranged, which may have contributed to the significance of the lone figure in their work. All these themes are investigated through the works from the exhibition, which aims to observe the common development of the three artists’ practice from some of their earliest paintings to Minton’s death in 1957. Machin’s research reveals for the first time the extreme sexual closeness and intimacy of the trio, confirmed by Ryan’s personal testimony, while Freud avoided any public acknowledgement of his sexual relations with Minton and Ryan, although he still never denied them. There are around fifty ivories in the exhibition: there are, among others, Freud’s Girl with Roses (from 1947-1948), Minton’s Jamaican Village from 1951, and a Self-Portrait by Ryan from 1941.

“This is the very first exhibition to bring together these three important figurative painters of the 20th century, tracing their highs and lows in personal relationships and the development of their mature painting styles,” says Jon Benington, director of the Victoria Art Gallery. “With a number of extraordinary loans from national museums, the event promises to be one of the highlights of the summer season.”

“The Falmouth Art Gallery,” says Henrietta Boex, Director of Cultural Services for the City of Falmouth, “is delighted to be working with Julian Machin again as his research very often brings to light new insights into the lives of artists and their work. In this case it is about the work of three artists, as well as friends, at the beginning of their careers, coming out of a war-torn London. The tension of what Julian called an unholy trinity is the strength of this event.”

“This exhibition,” highlights Sophia Weston, Trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, “brings together exceptional works of art to tell a new story about a fascinating period in modern British art. Our program focuses on partnerships, bringing important art loans to local communities, and it’s great that Bath and Falmouth are collaborating on this exhibition so that many more people can enjoy these paintings.”

The exhibition, which will be accompanied by a specially commissioned catalog and film, is organized in collaboration with the Falmouth Art Gallery (where it will move: it will be the second stop after Bath) and has been supported by the Art Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation. For all info you can visit the Victoria Art Gallery website.

Lucian Freud's homosexual relationships are featured in an exhibition in England
Lucian Freud's homosexual relationships are featured in an exhibition in England

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