Craxton met Lucian Freud in the early 1940s and for a time the two painters were almost inseparable. They shared lodgings in St John’s Wood in 1942 and in 1946 travelled to the Greek island of Poros. Freud stayed on in Greece for six months filling sketchbooks and executing exquisite jewel-like still lifes and portrait panel paintings. For Craxton this would mark the beginning of a love affair with Greece that would result him staying there for most of the next six decades. In Poros Craxton drew a remarkable portrait of Freud which was later acquired by Brian Sewell (see Iain Collins, John Craxton, Lund Humphries, 2011, p.79, plate 90). This later portrait from 1950 is an important addition to the corpus of Freud/Craxton work. Larger than the 1946 drawing and full length, this fine portrait drawing shows Freud in a pose of remarkable informality executed with the adept sense of line we would expect from this fine draughtsman. Already by 1950 Freud’s relationship with Craxton was beginning to wane, culminating in their total estrangement following Craxton’s criticism of Freud’s painting Large Interior: Paddington in the late 1960s.
Redfern Gallery; Wenlock Fine Art from whom acquired by John Constable in January 2014