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In conjunction with the major IMMA Collection Freud Project, 2016 – 2021, renowned American painter Ellen Altfest responds to a selection of Freud works presented in IMMA’s galleries. Considering a subjective response to human form, Altfest’s discusses her own distinct and devoted approach to figurative and representational painting. In particular Altfest draws on her acclaimed 2006 series of candid male nudes in which to explore diverging approaches to visceral portraiture and the interchanges between still life and life-model, giving Altfest’s paintings a heightened realism that fluctuates between desire and detachment.

This talk is part of a series of talks by contemporary artists in response to Freud, revealing exciting new perspectives on this major artist today. Looking at the return to figuration in contemporary art practice, Altfest is one of several artists invited to respond on the affinities, methodologies and potential influences that contemporary artists continue to share with Freud.


About the Artist

Lucian Freud 1922–2011

Lucian Freud (1922-2011) was one of the greatest realist painters of the 20th century. Renowned for his portrayal of the human form, Freud is best known for his intimate, honest, often visceral portraits. Working only from life Freud’s studio was intensely private and he mainly worked with those he was close to, often asking subjects to sit for hundreds of hours over multiple sittings to better capture the essence of their personality. — View Artist »

About the Speaker

Ellen Altfest received a BFA and BA from Cornell University, an MFA from Yale University School of Art, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Altfest has had one person exhibitions at The New Museum, New York, Milton Keynes Gallery, in England, and The Chinati Foundation, in Marfa, Texas. Her work has been included in many national and international group exhibitiions including in the 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, The Royal Acadamy in London, KUNSTFORENINGEN GL STRAND in Copenhagen and Dhondt Daenens Museum in Deurle, Belgium. Altfest received a Guggenheim fellowship, a Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Altfest lives and works in New York, NY.

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IMMA Talks Ellen Altfest on the work of Lucian Freud Soundcloud