Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Lucian Freud

My father's favorite number was 8, so it seems fitting that he, who exerted such control over his life, should die at 88. But as I write this, with his winter birthday looming, it's impossible not to wish that he could have continued for just a few more years. Powerful, brilliant, funny and passionate, he had little regard for convention and always maintained that he was entirely selfish. But what he really meant was that nothing and no one could keep him from his work. "Got to get on." The phrase was always on his lips, sometimes even while he was getting on, and toward the end he complained, "If only I had the energy to do a bit of painting." You've done enough, I wanted to say but didn't, because he was never interested in platitudes. Now that we have lost him, how grateful I am for the vast legacy of his work, the clear-sighted, unswerving gaze he fixed on everything and the inspiration of his memory.

Freud is a novelist