MAGNIFICENT GESTURES: MASTERWORKS FROM THE DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL COLLECTION FULL PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
Richly executed in charcoal and pastel and subsequently mounted on canvas, Portrait of a Woman is a supremely rare work that depicts this extraordinary figure in her later years, long after the death of her husband. It is a remarkably complete drawing, and harkens back not only to Freud’s extensive practice prior to his turn towards painting, but such masterpieces as Girl with Leaves (Museum of Modern Art, New York) from 1948. It typifies Freud’s representation of flesh in the latter part of his career, whilst highlighting his lifelong preoccupation with the drawn line. A testament to the friendship enjoyed by two titans of London life in the Twentieth Century, the present work is one of the greatest of Freud’s late works on paper, and should be considered alongside works such as Lord Goodman from 1986-7, whose subject was Freud’s solicitor and incidentally a close confidant of Clarissa Eden, as some of Freud’s most emotionally charged late works on paper. The daring juxtaposition of color, along with the virtuosic treatment of line and texture, notably in the hair and around the eyes, mark this as a truly exceptional work, perhaps closer in resemblance to a veritable oil painting than any other work on paper by the artist.
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