Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS , Case R, Shelf 50, Box R

After Constable's Elm

Print
2003 (made)
Artist/Maker

In this etching Lucian Freud, one of the most important British artists of his generation, takes inspiration from a picture painted by John Constable in around 1821, called Study of the Trunk of an Elm Tree. This painting was bequeathed to the V&A by Isabel Constable, John Constable’s daughter, in 1888. Freud attempted to copy it when he was a student, but gave up because it was so difficult. This print, made decades later and titled After Constable's "Elm", can be understood as an artist’s response to another artist’s work, with Freud offering a comment on the Constable painting: the 21st century addressing the 19th.

The V&A lent extensively to a retrospective of the works of John Constable chosen by Lucian Freud, which was held in Paris in 2002. The French catalogue for this exhibition included a conversation between Freud and William Feaver, the exhibition curator. The British Council reprinted a translation of the conversation in the book Freud on Constable. Lucian Freud made this new etching specially for the book.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Etching on paper
Brief Description
Lucian Freud, After Constable's Elm, etching, 2003
Physical Description
A print showing a tree trunk with a forest in the background.
Dimensions
  • Sheet height: 48cm
  • Sheet width: 38cm
  • Plate height: 31cm
  • Plate width: 24cm
Copy Number
40/46
Marks and Inscriptions
'40/46 L.F' (1) Makers's mark; under the image)
Gallery Label
Though best known as a painter, Freud also worked extensively with etching. This print was inspired by John Constable’s famous painting of the trunk of an elm tree, which he had seen in the V&A when he was a student. Fascinated by the unpretentious naturalism of the original, Freud decided to copy it after seeing it again when selecting works by Constable for an exhibition in Paris. (11/09/2017)
Credit line
Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund
Subjects depicted
Summary
In this etching Lucian Freud, one of the most important British artists of his generation, takes inspiration from a picture painted by John Constable in around 1821, called Study of the Trunk of an Elm Tree. This painting was bequeathed to the V&A by Isabel Constable, John Constable’s daughter, in 1888. Freud attempted to copy it when he was a student, but gave up because it was so difficult. This print, made decades later and titled After Constable's "Elm", can be understood as an artist’s response to another artist’s work, with Freud offering a comment on the Constable painting: the 21st century addressing the 19th.



The V&A lent extensively to a retrospective of the works of John Constable chosen by Lucian Freud, which was held in Paris in 2002. The French catalogue for this exhibition included a conversation between Freud and William Feaver, the exhibition curator. The British Council reprinted a translation of the conversation in the book Freud on Constable. Lucian Freud made this new etching specially for the book.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
E.1063-2003

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record createdFebruary 2, 2004
Record URL