This etching is based on an oil painting by Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin entitled 'The young schoolmistress' c.1735-6.
Freud selected this work by Chardin after he had been invited by the National Gallery London to respond to a painting in the permanent collection with the resulting work to be included, together with that of 23 other contemporary artists, in the exhibition, 'Encounters: New Art from Old' at the National Gallery London in 2000.
Freud was inspired to make two painted versions and one etched interpretation of Chardin. The etching (like the painted versions) and their 18th-century prototype shows the tender relationship between a child and his young schoolmistress, studying sheets of paper on a bureau top, though Freud has omitted the needle-like pointer from the schoolmistress's hand. Freud also draws attention to the girl's ear. He believes that Chardin painted here the most beautiful ear in art.
etching on Somerset textured white paper
59.7 x 73.0 cm platemark; 78.0 x 96.0 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r. sheet, pencil "L.F.". Not dated.
Gift of Margaret Olley 2000
Not on display
© Estate of Lucian Freud/Bridgeman Art Library
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Whistler to Freud: etching in Great Britain, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 Aug 2001–11 Nov 2001
Favourites: Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart (2002), S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 12 Jan 2002–24 Feb 2002
Referenced in 5 publications
Martin Gayford, Modern Painters, 'A physical truth: What Lucian Freud sees in Chardin', pg.74-77, Summer 2000, 74, 76 (illus.).
Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart, Favourites: Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart selections, Sydney, 2002. NOTE: No catalogue numbers; Margaret Olley selection.
Peter Raissis, Look, 'Freudian etchings and other revelations', pg.22-23, Melbourne, Aug 2001, 22 (illus.), 23.
Whistler to Freud: Etchings in Great Britain, Sydney, 2001. cat.no. 34
Encounters: new art from old, London, 2000, 132 (illus.). no. 2