After my recent, rather gloomy post about Sigmund Freud and his last dogs, I promised something more cheery. I’m delivering with an exploration of the prominent role that dogs played in the lives of two of Freud’s grandsons, Clement and Lucian, brothers who didn’t speak to each other for at least 50 — some say 70 — years.
Can you say “sibling rivalry”?
Clement Freud, Celebrity Chef, Dog Food Rep
According to Wikipedia:
Clement Freud was one of Britain’s first celebrity chefs, having worked at the Dorchester Hotel, and went on to run his own restaurant in Sloane Square at a relatively young age. As well as this, he had various newspaper and magazine columns, and was later a familiar face on television for his appearance in a series of dog food commercials (at first for Minced Morsels, later Chunky Meat) in which he co-starred with a bloodhound called Henry (played by a number of dogs) which shared his trademark “hangdog” expression.
Although he became a well known radio host and liberal member of Parliament, Freud was never taken entirely seriously as a result of these commercials:
Clement Freud’s obituary in The Telegraph notes: “During his early years in the Commons he was greeted with barks whenever he rose to speak.”
Lucian Freud: Artist, Rebel, Dog Lover
I don’t know if Clement Freud had his own canine companions — perhaps he only played a dog owner on TV — but his far more famous brother, Lucian, was both professionally and personally involved with dogs. One of the most important British artists of the 20th century, he said in an interview:
I’m really interested in people as animals… I like people to look as natural and as physically at ease as animals, as Pluto my whippet.
This portrait of Lucian Freud’s daughter with Pluto demonstrates how well he succeeded in this goal.
Lucian seemed to have difficulties with human relationships. According to The Telegraph, he turned down a knighthood because his estranged brother, Clement, had one; he severed ties with his other brother, Stephen; and he purportedly fathered some 14 children by “various women” to whom he was not married. But Lucian’s dogs clearly had no complaints, as this photograph of another family whippet, Eli, demonstrates:
But that’s just a glimpse into the topic. For a wonderfully in-depth and beautifully illustrated tribute to the artist and his dogs, see Lucian Freud: Dogged Portraitist.