IMMA opens an exhibition of the work of Chantal Joffe inspired by Lucian Freud's paintings of his mother

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IMMA opens an exhibition of the work of Chantal Joffe inspired by Lucian Freud's paintings of his mother
Chantal Joffe, Beach Hut, 2018, Oil on board, 41 x 51 cm, © Chantal Joffe, Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro.

DUBLIN.- IMMA launched The Artist’s Mother, the latest project in response to the IMMA Collection: Freud Project 2016-2021. Inspired by Lucian Freud’s paintings of his mother, Lucie, this is the first presentation which interweaves digital and physical elements. Central to the project is the work of artist Chantal Joffe who has portrayed her mother, Daryll, in an exceptional series of paintings and pastels.

The exhibition The Artist’s Mother: Lucie and Daryll is the first time IMMA combines both a gallery display in the Freud Centre, alongside a digitally installed exhibition in a new virtual gallery space. In this series of 15 portraits, 6 in dialogue with Lucian Freud in the gallery and 13 in the virtual gallery space, with some of the portraits been shown in both spaces, Chantal Joffe provides insights into the unique bond between mother-subject and artist-child.

At the centre of this conversation are two of Freud’s most outstanding portraits of his mother The Painter’s Mother Reading (1975) and Painter’s Mother Resting I (1976), which form part of the Freud Project. The encounter is further explored online through conversations and contributions by poet Annie Freud, Lucian’s eldest daughter. The project also includes a series of 22 specially produced short videos with artists, writers and creatives in various reflections on the theme of the mother, entitled The Maternal Gaze.

IMMA invited Chantal Joffe to engage with Lucian Freud’s portraits of his mother, Lucie Brasch (1896-1989), who left Berlin in 1933 to make a new life in England with her family. Like Lucie Freud, Joffe’s mother Daryll, herself was an exile who arrived in England aged 23 years old.

Freud produced no fewer than 13 paintings of his mother as well as numerous drawings. He stated that he could only paint his mother after she became ill, when she was no longer interested in him following the death of Lucian’s father, Ernst, in 1970.

Chantal Joffe likewise returned to painting her mother when in old age, after she began to lose her sight. "My mum has quite bad sight now - which is a hard thing to say because it became easier to paint her because she couldn't then see the paintings. It's complicated,” she says, “she is only truly seen when she can no longer see me or how I paint her”.

Christina Kennedy, Head of Collections, IMMA said “This show provides a focus for contemporary discussions of motherhood, focusing particularly on the complex relationship between mother and child over time. Both Freud and Joffe are drawn by the intensity of this bond, and especially the difficulty of seeing the real woman with adult eyes”.

The Artist’s Mother presents videos, essays, texts and talks, to form a fascinating compilation of images, writing and voices that explore the role of mothers and carers in our lives, the bonds of creativity and intellect in the context of contemporary discussions of motherhood.

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