Diasec mounted giclée print on aluminium (Original: oil on canvas).
Limited edition of 500, numbered.
Size: 41 x 26 cm
Published by the Royal College of Art, London, and Heni Productions, 2016
Copyright: The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images
About the Print
John Minton was a tutor at the Royal College of Art between 1949 and 1956, a role that he combined with an active practice as an artist and illustrator. Fellow painter Bridget Riley remembers: 'The warmth and heart of the school was John Minton, whose compassion, sophistication and wit were immensely reassuring. You realised at once that he was aware that the problems he faced were in essence common ones. He was much loved by the students.’
After seeing Freud’s 1952 portrait of Francis Bacon, Minton commissioned one of himself. Representative of Freud’s maturing style, the portrait combines raw technical brilliance with emotional acuity. In ‘Some Thoughts on Painting’ published in Encounter magazine, July 1954, Freud said: ‘Painters who use life itself as their subject-matter, working with the object in front of them, or constantly in mind, do so in order to translate life into art almost literally, as it were… The painter makes real to others his innermost feelings about all that he cares for.'
Contemporary and Royal College of Art alumnus Frank Auerbach said of these early works, ‘The subject is raw, not cooked to be more digestible as art, not covered in a gravy of ostentatious tone or colour, not arranged on a plate as a “composition". The paintings live because their creator has been passionately attentive to their theme, and his attention has left something for us to look at. It seems a sort of miracle.'
In 1957, John Minton took his own life, bequeathing this painting to the RCA. It holds a unique place in the Royal College of Art’s collection, both for its outstanding quality and its subject, whose influence was felt over a generation of artists. It is one of the most popular works in the collection, and is frequently requested for inclusion in Freud exhibitions in museums around the world. 2017 will be Minton’s centenary and there will be considerable interest in the artist and his work, with various exhibitions and publications.
With thanks to the trustees of the Lucian Freud Archive and Bridgeman Images.
About the Artist
Lucian Freud is one of the world’s greatest realist painters, and his portrait of RCA painting tutor John Minton (1917–57) is among his noted works – a realisation of the relationship between artist and model described by art historian Frances Spalding as ‘one of [the] century’s most emotional portraits’.
This digital reproduction is now available as a limited edition of 500 prints. The proceeds of sales will go towards the RCA's scholarship funds, ensuring that the world’s best and brightest art and design students are able to study at the Royal College of Art.