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LONDON — It may well nicely be the most renowned sofa in human history.
The divan on which Sigmund Freud received some 500 clients sits in the London home wherever he invested the past year of his existence just after his escape from Nazi-occupied Vienna. It is shaped like a chaise longue, with a Persian rug laid in excess of it. Freud would sit in a chair beside it to stay clear of eye contact with his affected person, surrounded by publications, antique vessels and statuettes.
That storied piece of home furnishings is the centerpiece of the Freud Museum considering that it opened in 1986 inside of a substantial brick house in the leafy north London place of Hampstead. The dwelling and its contents were being meticulously preserved by Freud’s daughter Anna, a pioneer of child psychoanalysis who lived and labored there until her dying in 1982. Soon prior to, she offered the land and building to a charity with the stipulation that a museum be proven in her father’s name.
“When people enter the museum, it is the couch that they want to see: It’s almost like a sacred secular relic,” explained Giuseppe Albano, the museum’s director because July, who beforehand ran the ultimate property of the poet John Keats in Rome.
He explained the divan as “a magnet for readers from all over the globe,” and reported they were drawn, earlier mentioned all, to “the human stories related with it.”
Mr. Albano spelled out that the museum was particularly relevant nowadays. People almost everywhere have been more and more anxious about their mental wellness, specifically in the aftermath of the pandemic, and Freud was a central figure in the advancement of therapy and psychoanalysis. The museum is searching to construct up its connections with world wide audiences by building digital instruments these as digital truth, augmented reality and immersive films, and operating with the Institute for Electronic Archaeology (based mostly in Oxford, England), will produce upcoming events for it.
When Freud first moved into the home with his family members in September 1938, he was happy with it. Besides staying “very beautiful,” he wrote, it was “light, cozy, roomy.” There, he loved enjoyable times with his family members, the two indoors and in the yard, and met these luminaries as Salvador Dalí and Virginia Woolf, who printed his textbooks in English.
Within the Globe of Lucian Freud
Lucian Freud recast the artwork of portraiture and available a new approach to figurative art with stark and revealing paintings of close friends and intimates.
Nevertheless the property also tells the heartbreaking story of Freud’s escape from the Nazis, of his displacement, and of his agonizing struggle with most cancers.
The check out commences in the dining area, which is dominated by the nicely-recognised portrait of Freud in a a few-piece accommodate, cigar in hand. On a different wall are 4 scaled-down black-and-white photographs that clearly show Freud’s apartment at Berggasse 19 in Vienna in September 1938, three months soon after he and his spouse and children fled to Britain. The images ended up taken by a youthful photographer named Edmund Engelman who had the perilous mission of capturing those past sights of the apartment.
A single of the visuals shows a banner emblazoned with a swastika hanging over the exterior entrance to the making. Other folks display the interior of the Freud condominium: the famed rug-draped couch, protected with blankets and a pillow, and cabinets, vitrines and commodes crammed with books and antiquities.
A screen following doorway recollects the Freuds’ spectacular escape from Vienna. There is a tax certificate detailing the quantity they compensated to protected permission to go away a letter from the British Home Business authorizing Freud to exercise psychoanalysis in London and photographs of the trip from Vienna to Paris to London on the Orient Convey.
“The feeling of triumph on remaining liberated is also strongly combined with sorrow,” Freud wrote in a letter quickly right after departure, “for in spite of every little thing I nonetheless significantly loved the prison from which I have been released.”
Nearby show instances doc the final 12 months of Freud’s daily life. Together with his trademark spherical eyeglasses, his marriage ring, and his overcoat are poignant objects joined to his sickness.
A lifelong smoker, Freud was diagnosed with cancer in 1923 and underwent 33 painful operations. He subsequently wore a prosthetic jaw that is now on outstanding display screen, subsequent to the picket clothes pins that he applied to keep his mouth open. The suffering became so excruciating that Freud died, right there in his examine, of assisted suicide: a morphine injection ended his everyday living — a few months right before the outbreak of Globe War II.
Freud had a lot of descendants. The most notable among them was the painter Lucian Freud, who was born 100 several years back this year, and died in 2011. To mark the centenary, an exhibition has been staged at the Freud Museum by the author and critic Martin Gayford (who sat for Freud, has created thoroughly about him, and just co-edited a guide of his letters titled “Love Lucian: The Letters of Lucian Freud, 1939-1954”). The exhibition is all about Lucian Freud’s partnership with his spouse and children.
Only 16 when his grandfather died, Lucian Freud was “very fond” of him, Mr. Gayford claimed, even even though “he didn’t go through his get the job done.”
In the exhibition catalog, Mr. Gayford prices the artist as saying that his grandfather “always seemed to be in a excellent mood. He had what a lot of individuals who are definitely clever have, which is not becoming severe or solemn, as if they are so certain they know what they are talking about that they really do not have the need to be earnest about it.”
When it came time to set on the exhibition (programmed by the museum’s prior director Carol Seigel), the dilemma arrived up “whether you put operates in Sigmund’s research, which is truly the great set piece there,” Mr. Gayford recalled. In the conclusion, two performs have been hung in the study, and the rest of the exhibition — self-portraits of Lucian Freud as nicely as paintings, drawings and pictures — is held upstairs.
Mr. Albano claimed the museum was keen to draw attention to Freud’s initial texts, due to the fact there was a danger normally that, as in the circumstance of Karl Marx, the unique writings would be interpreted and reinterpreted, and his information would get lost in translation.
With that in thoughts, he famous, the museum planned to commemorate subsequent year’s centenary of the publication of “The Ego and the Id,” a single of Freud’s most important will work.
“We would like the Freud Museum seriously to be at the vanguard of a renaissance in interest in Freud’s get the job done,” Mr. Albano mentioned.