The Freud Drawings
13 January - 3 March 2001
Robert Longo's project The Freud Drawings is an intense group of charcoal and graphite drawings derived, in part, from photographs of Freud's Vienna residence and consulting room. The well-known photographs of this landmark location were taken in 1938 by Edmund Engelman, just days before Freud fled Austria's anschluss to relocate in London. The densely blackened, starkly contrasted and subtly distorted drawings resonate with Freud's historical prominence, evoking both Vienna's architectural and intellectual traditions and the sinister Nazi presence of that period. The large eerie drawings depict exterior and interior views of 19 Bergstrasse and the ghostly Victorian furnishings that are vaguely familiar. The smaller drawings are a selection from Freud's often cited antiquities collection and various incidental details of the environment. One especially ominous eight by five foot drawing of the front doors of Freud's building bears both the number 19 as well as a murky swastika. Another work is a diptych that juxtaposes a cropped view of the famed analytic couch, its patterned throw, and bright white pillow with an empty armchair and ottoman from the same room.
Robert Longo was born in Brooklyn in 1953 and lives in New York City. Longo's 1997 exhibition at Metro Pictures, The Magellan Project, was also exhibited at Kunsthalle Tuebingen and Kunsthalle Bielefeld in Germany, and Kunsthal Rotterdam in Holland. He has been the subject of retrospective exhibitions at the Hamburger Kunstverein and Deichtorhallen, the Menil Collection, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hartford Athenaeum, The Isetan Museum of Art in Tokyo and Ashikaga City Museum. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim Museum, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Menil Collection in Houston, Musee d'art Contemporain in Montreal, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
1 Ref. Engelman, Edmund, Sigmund Freud: Bergasse 19, Vienna, Universe Publishing, Inc., 1998