Lucian Freud, Girl Holding her Foot (detail), 1985, etching © The Estate of Lucian Freud

Freud, Auerbach, Hockney & Rego: Drawing on Copper and Stone

21 October - 16 December 2005

This exhibition explores the relationship between drawing and printmaking, revealing the extraordinary breadth of expression which is possible through etching and lithography. More than forty etchings and lithographs by four of Britain's most important figurative artists will be on display. Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney and Paula Rego are all best known for their paintings but regard drawing as central to their artistic expression. They have each employed the unique and special qualities of drawing-based printmaking techniques throughout their careers.

Unlike most printmaking processes, etching and lithography allow the artist to draw directly onto the printing plate or lithography ‘stone’, with virtually the same fluency as with pen or pencil on paper. The spontaneity of etching has made it one of the most popular printmaking techniques used today, and all four artists in this exhibition are masters of the medium. While Freud and Auerbach now use etching to the exclusion of other printmaking processes, Hockney and Rego have frequently turned to lithography to explore particular ideas or subjects.

Powerful etched portraits by Freud and Auerbach are shown alongside iconic early works by Hockney and a selection of Rego's etchings and lithographs revealing dark, and often humorous, narratives. Abbot Hall now holds one of the most important collections of Freud etchings in Britain, on extended loan from a private collector, and a selection of these works will be accompanied by loans from Marlborough Fine Art and Annely Juda Fine Art. To complete the exhibition, Abbot Hall will also have on display David Hockney's Rake's Progress suite of etchings from its own collection.

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  • Lucian Freud, Girl Holding her Foot (detail), 1985, etching © The Estate of Lucian Freud


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