Bruce Bernard
Lucian Freud - 1992
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Bruce Bernard was born in 1928. His great passion throughout his life was for painting. He left St Martin\'s School of Art without completing the course and after many years began his first job for a magazine called \'History of the Twentieth Century\'. From 1972 to 1980 he was the picture editor of the Sunday Times Magazine and later the visual arts editor of the Saturday Independent Magazine. Bernard also published a number of books on art and photography, among them Century, a photographic account of the Twentieth Century and the most important monograph to date on Lucian Freud. Last year the book Freud at Work was published - a collection of photographs of Freud and the working practice of his studio taken by Bruce Bernard and David Dawson. Bernard first met Freud in 1942 when he was only fourteen and the artist twenty. Over the next decades the two men established an intense and lasting friendship. Bernard\'s love and knowledge of art, his expertise and a reputation for unerring critical judgement formed the basis for many friendships with artists during the heyday of Soho\'s bohemia in the1950s. Bernard and his younger brother, the infamous journalist and bon vivant Jeffrey, were familiar figures in the artistic haunts of the area such as the Colony Room, the French Pub and Caves de France. Bernard is perhaps less known for his activity as a photographer than as a journalist, as he disliked being called one, but throughout the last twenty years of his life he took many fascinating photographs and established a substantial body of work. In May 2002, Tate Britain showed an exhibition of his photographs of five leading British artists whom he knew well; Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Euan Uglow and Lucian Freud. Bernard also produced an ongoing record of Lucian Freud at work and the life of his studio that began in 1980s - a role that since has been taken on by David Dawson Freud\'s assistant and an artist in his own right. Although Bernard had known Lucian Freud for a very long time it was not until 1985 that he finally agreed to sit for the artist. Freud had on several occasions told Bernard that he wanted to paint him but Bernard was unwilling to respond to this request as he was fearful of sitting or standing for the long periods of time that he was very aware that Freud\'s painstakingly slow methods required. It was only on hearing in 1985 that Freud\'s working speed had appreciably increased that Bernard first sat for an etching and \'considered accepting what I still saw as a burdensome honour\' in sitting for a Freud portrait. It took two drawings and twenty-eight sittings to produce the etching. When a painting was suggested six years later Bernard finally \'consented with a keen interested in the result\'. In organising an appropriate pose with the artist, Bernard declared to Freud that he preferred to stand and suggested \'a pose with my hands in my pockets, looking gloomily slightly downwards - a stance entirely natural to me\'. It was not long before \'I very soon realised how clever I was to conceal my hands, as this must have saved me about seven sessions... (and later) I was rather pleased to see (the finished painting) as a poster - three of me on rather abstracted guard on each side of the Whitechapel Art Gallery.
Owner/Location: Unknown
Dates: 1992
Artist age:Approximately 70 years old.
Dimensions: Height: 114.3 cm (45 in.), Width: 83.82 cm (33 in.)
Medium: Painting - oil on canvas
Entered by: Member johnno on 12 August 2010.
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