Bruce Bernard

Leigh Bowery posing for Lucian Freud with the painting ‘Leigh under the Skylight’, 1994

About this artwork

The flamboyant performance artist Leigh Bowery (1961-1994) was a favourite model of Freud. He first saw Bowery perform at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London, when he appeared in a variety of colourful and dramatic outfits. The artist became fascinated by this strange figure - the shape of his body, tone of his skin and his monumental presence. Freud preferred to know his models well in order to portray them most effectively. He made several paintings of Bowery over a period of four years, during which time they became friends. It was a relationship of mutual inspiration, as Freud considered his model to be ‘perfectly beautiful’ and Bowery loved to pose for Freud. He explained that, ‘because he is an artist who always works in the figurative idiom he has given me lots of ideas’.

Updated before 2020

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Bruce Bernard

Bruce Bernard