Kate Middleton Bowled Over By Lucian Freud Exhibition

Duchess of Cambridge steps out in tweed for NPG opening on a frosty night

Kate Middleton is to spend the next six weeks in the absence of Prince William, visiting the charities she recently became a patron of. Last night she made a spectacular solo debut at London’s National Portrait Gallery, where she attended the private view of the Lucian Freud portrait exhibition. She was greeted by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt as well as by Sandy Nairne, the gallery’s director. Kate was escorted around the exhibition by Nairne as well as the co-curators of the exhibition. In the gallery she mingled with well known art world personalities, including the photographer Mary McCartney (Linda and Paul’s daughter) and  Bella Freud, the artist’s daughter, who was also the subject of a 1996 oil on canvas, featured in the show. The Duchess was particularly taken by the painting “Large Interior W11 (after Watteau) painted in 1981 and spent a long time gazing at the work. Freud gathered together several people that were close to him as the subjects in the picture, which was based on a painting by Jean-Antoine Watteau from 1712.

It was confirmed last night that a portrait is to be commissioned through the NPG of the Duchess of Cambridge. Sandy Nairne said: ‘It’s very early days, but we’ve started a discussion. It will be at least the summer before there’s anything concrete and we can start to look for an artist. ‘It’s very exciting. She came to see us last September when she was deciding which organisations to support. She was fizzing with intelligent questions.’

Lucian Freud once said; “I work from people that interest me and that I care about, in rooms that I live in and know”. The artist would have been an ideal candidate to paint the Duchess and by her reaction to the exhibition, Freud may very well have been her choice. The artist sadly passed away in July last year, age 88. Many believe that David Hockney will now be asked to paint this historical painting.

The Freud exhibition opens to the public tomorrow and will continue until May 27.

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