Broadcast to coincide with the long-awaited exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery in February 2012, the film explores Freud’s life and work, from his childhood escape from Hitler in 1934, through the bohemian early years in relative obscurity in Fifties and Sixties London, to international adulation in old age. Today Freud’s reputation continues to grow, with vast crowds attending exhibitions and his masterpiece Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, nicknamed “Big Sue”, selling in 2008 for a record-breaking $34 million.
Vastly intelligent and completely genuine, Freud commanded great loyalty and affection from friends, family and lovers. After his death they have spoken, often for the first time, to tell the extraordinary story of a man who dedicated his life to painting portraits at a time when painting, let alone realist painting, was said to be dead.
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