Head of Ali

Lucian Freud

The trust built up between Freud and his printer, Marc Balakjian, brought with it a new-found sense of adventure, which can be seen in a rather extreme way in the 1999 work Head of Ali.  The etching plate was left in the boot of Freud’s car for weeks on end, acquiring many scratches and marks from the sliding about and the placing upon it of countless bags.  Upon conference between Freud and Balakjian, most of the marks on the plate were left to print.  Many of Freud’s etchings have scratches printed in the background, such as in Portrait Head of 2001, but this is the first time that some scratches actually cross the face.  The realisation that these scratches do not interfere with the reading of the subject marks a moment of bravery and confidence in modern printmaking that has little comparison.

Artist
Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Title
Head of Ali
Medium
Etching
Date
1999
Sheet
29 ¾ x 22 ½ in : 75.7 x 57.2 cm (Somerset Textured White paper)
Plate
23 ⅝ x 17 in : 60.0 x 43.2 cm
Edition
From the edition of 46, signed and numbered by the artist
Printer
Marc Balakjian at Studio Prints, London
Publisher
Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
Literature
Hartley 59; Figura 79
Reference
CC12-141
Status
Available for sale

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