Blog - Grand Auctions

The Power of Art


Whilst attending an exhibition of Freud’s self portraits at the RA, I had a most moving meeting with a young man and his family. I have never been a great admirer of Freud’s work, except for a few very good paintings. The self portraits were not exactly inspiring, my knee was hurting, so I sat on a bench near the end of the show opposite one of Freud’s best.

Sitting next to me was a young man of about 28 years, who started to talk to me about Freud. I told him my reservations about his work and his obvious considerable ego as a man. He had some sensitive and interesting views about art in general and Freud in particular. He asked me how I had become interested in art, so I told him about my damascene moment in front of the birth of Venus by Botticelli when I was a young man of 21 in the Uffizi Museum in Florence. I explained my family had been highly literate, father was a major scholar of Brasenose College, Oxford, but there was no interest in art at all. In fact I had never entered an art gallery until that moment.


He then started to tell me the wonderful change that had come over his father when he suddenly started to paint. His father had suffered a serious trauma when he was young and found his emotions were constantly negative. In fact he was so bad that his son had no relationship with his father. Quite unexpectedly his father started to paint and floods of creativity came out of him. The surge of creativity was so great, he began to overcome the effects of his trauma. “I had my father again.”

At that point a lady sat down next to us, his mother and then a man, his father. His father expanded on the effect of the huge surge of creativity that had come out of him and the marvellous effect it had on his well being and that of his family. He had no idea he could paint and was thrilled with what he had been able to achieve creatively and emotionally. The effect had been so great a short film had been made about his experience. Art won again.

If you have any paintings you would like to have valued, please contact Jonathan Riley of Grand Auctions.

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