Object of the Week
Flowers on a Red Chair (1998), Lucian Freud
Freud’s worn-out, red upholstered chair on wheels was a staple in his studio and has appeared in six canvases. A relatively unusual painting for the artist, Flowers on a Red Chair is a poetic meditation on absence and presence and the role flowers play in the aftermath of loss. Casually abandoned on the empty chair, Freud’s flowers gesture towards the inconsistent nature of memory. He may be revisiting the tradition of the Dutch still-life in which flower compositions remind us of death—the memento mori—in a wholly domestic, understated, and very intimate scene.
Lucian Freud: Plant Portraits is open until 5 March