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IMMA Collection: Freud Project, The Ethics of Scrutiny, Curated by Daphne Wright

15 February - 2 September 2018 “Book Now
Freud Centre
Kathy Prendergast, Bouquet II, 2007, Bronze, 12 x 26 x 12 cm, On Loan, Private Collection. In background Lucian Freud, The Painter's Mother Resting I, 1976, Painting, Oil on canvas, 90.2 x 90.2 cm, IMMA Collection. On Loan, Private Collection. Photo Justin Mac Innes.
The Ethics of Scrutiny, curated by artist Daphne Wright, is the second exhibition to be presented as part of the IMMA Collection: Freud Project - a five-year loan of 52 works by renowned artist Lucian Freud (1922-2011); one of the greatest painters of the 20th-century. This exhibition takes aspects of Freud’s intimate studio practice as a starting point to explore themes of vulnerability, longing and loss that permeate the painter’s work, while also looking to the works of other artists who address on a wider scale the complexities of representation. Two new paintings by Lucian Freud are exhibited at IMMA for the first time, alongside work by other artists including Emily Dickinson, Sigmund Freud, Marlene Dumas and John Berger.

Lucian Freud chose his subjects from people who entered his life through various means from the acquaintances he encountered regularly during his gambling days, to the members of his own family and inner circle of friends who all modelled within the tight constrains of his studio. In his portraits, some painted over many months or even years, we see a body of work that examines the complex relationships between an artist and their sitter or, more broadly, we see paintings that deal with the psychology of looking.

Placing Freud’s paintings alongside the work of writers Emily Dickinson, John Berger and Lydia Davis, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and artists Gwen John, Kathy Prendergast, Wiebke Siem, Marlene Dumas and Thomas Schütte, The Ethics of Scrutiny calls into question how we see ourselves, how our gazes fall onto one another, and importantly how our identities shift over the cycle of time. The exhibition sees the addition of two major works by Freud, Two Brothers from Ulster, 2001, and Man in a Silver Suit, 1998.

IMMA Collection: Freud Project

IMMA has secured a significant five-year loan of 52 works by one of the greatest realist painters of the 20th century, Lucian Freud (1922-2011). 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.

IMMA Collection: Freud Project features a selection of 30 of the artist’s finest paintings, and 20 works on paper. The works, mainly dating from 1970 onwards, explore several of the artist’s key themes such as Portraiture; Self Portraiture; Still-life; Animals and Nature; works that reflect his interest in the people and the natural world.

The works, on loan from private collections, are predominantly presented in a dedicated Freud Centre in IMMA’s Garden Galleries for five years. With this extraordinary resource IMMA will create a centre for Freud research with a programme of special exhibitions, education partnerships, symposia and research that will maximise this important opportunity for schools, third level students, artists and audiences all over Ireland and beyond.

During this unique five-year project IMMA will present a series of different and exclusive Lucian Freud related exhibitions, with a new programme of events and openings each year, including works and new commissions by other modern and contemporary artists in response to Freud, and will reveal exciting new perspectives on this major artist today. Ethics of Scrutiny is the first of these Exhibitions.


“Book NowWednesday - Sunday: €8/5
Tuesday: Free

Always free for IMMA Members, full-time students and under 18’s.

Monies raised through admission charges will directly contribute to the care and development of the IMMA Collection.

Admission will be by timed entry, due to the number and delicate nature of the works and the limited circulation space of the historic building that houses the Freud Centre. To avoid disappointment please pre-book your preferred time-slot online in advance of visiting. Online booking will open on Wednesday 14 February 2018.

Visiting the exhibition

This exhibition is on display in the Freud Centre which is located between the Formal Gardens and the main gate on Military road.

Please note that entrance to the Freud Centre is by timed ticket only. Please purchase your ticket in advance of attending the exhibition as tickets are not available for purchase at the Freud Centre itself. Tickets may be bought online or in-person at the box office in the main IMMA Reception (off the courtyard).

Please note that rucksacks and large bags cannot be brought into the Freud Centre and must be left in the free lockers provided in the Main Galleries. Therefore if you are bringing a large bag please allow at least 20mins to stow your bags and make your way to the Freud Centre.

If you have your printed ticket or have saved your ticket to your mobile device you can make your way directly to the Freud Centre. If you are purchasing your ticket on-site at IMMA please allow at least 10minutes to purchase your ticket in person and walk to the Freud Centre. Entry is not guaranteed during busy periods as capacity is strictly limited for each time slot.

Booking online will guarantee entry for your preferred time slot, avoid queues and allow you to proceed directly to the Freud Centre on arrival at IMMA. There are no booking fees for purchasing online.

Please read the ticket Terms and Conditions in advance of your visit.

About Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud was born in Berlin to Ernst, the architect son of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and his wife Lucie Brasch. In 1933, age ten, Freud fled with his family to England, ahead of the rise of Nazism. The family settled in London where Freud lived for the rest of his life.

Freud studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London and Cedric Morris’s East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. His first solo exhibition, at the Lefevre Gallery received critical acclaim in 1944, followed by a number of hallucinatory, finely-painted portraits that marked him as an artist to watch. Freud’s adherence to realism and focus on the human figure, when abstraction and other progressive forms of practice were more prolific, moved him in and out of the spotlight until the 1980’s when renewed international interest in painting and figuration gave his work a new significance. Since then Freud has become one of the best-known and most highly-regarded British artists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Companion of Honour and the Order of Merit. Major retrospectives of his work were held in Tate Britain, 2002, IMMA 2007, MOMA, 2008 and the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2012.

Freud visited Dublin and Connemara in Ireland in the late 1940s,partly on a pilgrimage to Jack B.Yeats whom he considered the greatest living painter and later when married to Caroline Blackwood of the Guinness family. From the 1950s he connected with Irish artists such as Patrick Swift whose Dublin studio he used and Edward McGuire whose tutor he was at the Slade Art School, as well as the literary circle of Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, Brendan Behan, Anthony Cronin and their Soho milieu. An in depth account of Freud and Ireland will be explored through the Freud Project, including his close links with the other great figurative painter of the 20th century, Irish-born and London-based, Francis Bacon – his friend, mentor and great rival of thirty years and whose studio you can visit in Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane.

About the Curator

Daphne Wright, born 1963, Ireland, is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London, and was elected as a member of the Aosdána, in 2011. She lives and works in Dublin and Bristol. Wright’s work manoeuvres things into well-wrought but delicate doubt – shifting between taughtness and mess, it sets imagery, materials and language in constant metaphorical motion. Using a wide range of materials – plaster, tinfoil, video, printmaking, found objects and performance – she creates worlds that are beautiful and rather eerie which feel like the threshold to somewhere new.

Wright has exhibited extensively in England and Ireland since 1994, with solo exhibitions at many venues including, Prayer Project, The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, 2017; Emotional Archaeology, R.H.A Gallery, Dublin, 2017 and The Arnolfini, Bristol, 2016, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Douglas Hyde Gallery, 2002, Nonsense with Death, Sligo Art Gallery, 2001, and Daphne Wright, Limerick City Art Gallery, 2006, Cornerhouse, Manchester, 1994, The New Art Centre Sculpture Park and Gallery and The Lowry, 2001. She has also participated in various group exhibitions at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, 2008, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2000, P.S.1, New York, 1999, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1997, and Tate Liverpool, 1995. Commissions include Ham House, Trust New Art, Hanbury House, Worcester and Carlow County Council, South Tipperary County Council and Cork City Council. Works by Wright are held in the following collections: Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; IMMA, Dublin; Arts Council of Ireland; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Towner Art Gallery, Sussex, and private collections in Ireland and the UK. Awards include the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award 1997.

Associated Events

Lucian Freud Lecture Series
IMMA is presenting a Lucian Freud Lecture Series in collaboration with The Irish Art Research Centre, Trinity College, Dublin (TRIARC). IMMA and TRIARC have invited leading artists, critics and cultural researchers to offer new perspectives on Freud's work from October 2017 to April 2018, concluding with a major symposium in April 2018. The next lecture in the series is a keynote lecture by Isabelle Graw, Professor, Städelschule, Frankfurt.

The Love of Painting - Reconsidering Freud / Isabelle Graw
Wednesday 7 March 2018, 7.00pm / Johnston Suite, IMMA

Internationally renowned art historian and professor Isabelle Graw considers what constitutes painting today and looks at current measures of value in painting, from artistic to economic, through the lens of art history and critical theory. This lecture draws on Graw's new book The Love of Painting: Genealogy of a Success Medium, (February 2018) that aims to establish where painting can be seen today. Graw´s talk explores the current popularity of painting from a historical and medium specific perspective in which to address Freud´s work and persona as a model that has both potential and problems when considered from a present vantage point. This lecture will be followed by a closing discussion, moderated by IMMA' Head of Colletions Christina Kennedy.

Artist Discussion / Daphne Wright & Angela Griffith
Saturday 10 March, 2pm, Robert Emmet Hall, TCD
Daphne Wright, artist and exhibition curator of The Ethics of Scrutiny joins Angela Griffith, The Irish Art Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin, in a conversation that explore Wright's role as curator, her response to the work of Lucian Freud and her own artistic practice. This artist's discussion will be introduced by Christina Kennedy, Head of Collections, IMMA. Listen Back

International Symposium on Lucian Freud
Rethinking Freud & The Contemporary
Saturday 14 April / 9.30am – 5.00pm / Tickets €6
IMMA will present a dynamic symposium that will explore the themes, methods, motivations and varied contexts of the work of Lucian Freud. Speakers will present their contemporary perspectives on the role of painting in art today; the anthropological, psychological and ethnographic content that Freud’s work elicits and, revisit post-war art contexts and Freud’s lesser known relationship to Ireland, that included a creative network of other artists and writers.

Speakers include: Catherine Lampert  / Elena Crippa /  Christina Kennedy / Nick Miller /  Angela Griffith  /  Nathan O’ Donnell / Trisha Brennan / Laura Fitzgerald /  Richard John Jones /  Sue Rainsford / John Lalor 

This symposium is the season highlight and final event in a collaborative series of events presented by IMMA and TRIARC - TCD exploring the work of Lucian Freud. Ticket includes tea/coffee and free entry into the exhibition The Ethics of Scrutiny.  

Curator Lunchtime Talk
Friday 20 April / 1.15 – 2pm / Drop-in / Meeting Point - IMMA Main Reception
Join curator Johanne Mullan for an insightful walkthrough of The Ethics of Scrutiny to hear more about the key themes and artworks featured.Each tour is free of charge. No need to book in advance, just come to the Meeting Point in IMMA Reception.

Talk & Tour / Emily Dickinson’s Poetry & Ecology of the Gallery
Sunday 19 August / 3.00 – 4.00pm / The Freud Centre / Booking Advised

Arthur Seefahrt, poet, writer and member of IMMAs Visitor Engagement Team presents a talk and tour on the poetry and visual connections that underline curator Daphne Wright’s inclusion of the envelope poems by Emily Dickinson, within the exhibition The Ethics of Scrutiny. Often described as a painterly poet in her use of corporeal language, this tour draws on Timothy Morton’s philosophical thinking, ‘Ecology without Nature’, as a valuable context to revisit Dickinson’s poetry and Wright’s curatorial configurations of Freud. Listen Now

Keynote Lecture by Kate Brindley / The Work of Daphne Wright                                                  
Thursday 30 August / 6.30pm / Lecture Room / Booking Advised
In the context The Ethics of Scrutiny, curated by Daphne Wright, this lecture survey’s Wright’s artistic practice to date, introducing key tenets that have preoccupied the artist since her burgeoning career in the 1990s. Exploring some of Wright’s most distinctive and emotive bodies of work which deal with the essence and meaning of being human, Kate Brindley, Director of Collection & Exhibitions at Chatsworth House UK, reflects on Wright’s multimedia response to the work of Lucian Freud, and considers what this might bring to new readings of Freud’s work in the present. Listen Back

Exhibition Resources

Read the Exhibition Guide

Read about IMMA Collection: Freud Project, 2016 - 2021

Read about the first exhibition of the IMMA Collection: Freud Project where all 50 works of this five-year loan where on view for the first year of the project. This exhibition took place from 21 October 2016 - 7 January 2018.

Read a review of the exhibition on The Quietus by CathyWade - What Are You Looking At: Lucian Freud As Seen By Daphne Wright

Homecoming: Frank Bowling and Lucian Freud read the IMMA blog by Dr Nathan O’Donnell on the relationship between Lucian Freud and Frank Bowling. June 2018.

Slow Looking & Porous Links in The Ethics of Scrutiny read the IMMA blog Daphne Wright in conversation with Sue Rainsford.

Media Release

Supported by

IMMA Collection: Freud Project is made possible through the visionary support of the Freud Circle listed below, and those donors that wish to remain anonymous.

The exhibition is supported by

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
Tel: +353-1-6129900, Email:


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