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About the Collection

The IMMA Collection is a unique resource which is made available to the public through a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions and projects. Collection Exhibitions may explore the work of an individual artist, or address a theme or historic period.

Now in its fourth year, the IMMA Collection: Freud Project explores the theme of the studio, its role and function, practically and conceptually, in the production of art. Very few artists spent as much time in the studio as Lucian Freud (1922–2011). The studio was his world.

The studio, in all its forms, exerts a fascination as the physical and conceptual site of an artist’s work. The IMMA Collection: Freud Project provides the framework for an Open Research Space, a programme of online discussions and research initiatives which has been activated to generate a collective research resource, expanding upon existing ways of thinking about the studio.

This research project is rooted in the IMMA Collection: Freud Project, which presents 29 paintings and 16 works on paper in this exhibition. Freud is widely recognised as one of the greatest realist painters of the twentieth century, renowned for his intimate, honest, often visceral portrayal of the human form. He changed the way we see portraiture and the nude in art. The works in this exhibition, mainly dating from 1970 onwards, explore several of the artist’s key themes such as portraiture, self-portraiture, still-life, animals and nature. They include portraits of his family, other artists, an art writer, his art dealer, business people and his doctor. The loans also reflect his friendships and contacts within the racing world, his love of horses and dogs, his interest in the physical and psychological relationships between human and animal sitters, his studio and garden.

Online Open Research Space
This project maps out and builds on existing ways of thinking about the studio, focusing on international contexts as well as the contemporary situation in Ireland.

A series of core research questions inform and steer the various activities taking place. What are the uses of the studio? What are the limits of the studio? What are other possibilities for the studio? How do we value studio versus non-studio practices and how do we make space for alternatives within the Museum and online? Using Freud’s work, and his intense focus on the interiors of his studios as a prompt, this project explores and makes visible the alternative forms of research and learning that can take place in the environment of the Museum and online

The exhibition is made possible by the IMMA Collection: Freud Project 2016-2021, a five-year loan of 52 works by Lucian Freud to the IMMA Collection by private lenders. This is the fifth exhibition to be presented as part of the project.

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.
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Exhibition Guide

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Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.