Nearly eighty years after Sigmund Freud left Vienna for the last time in 1938, to seek refuge in London, fund-raising is underway for an Austrian partner to the bronze seated figure of Freud in Hampstead. The statue will be sited in a garden space at Vienna Medical University, where Freud himself studied. The unveiling is planned for 4 June 2018, the anniversary of Freud’s departure.
If you would like to donate to this project, the Vienna Medical University is able to accept donations via Paypal www.meduniwien.ac.at/freud-statue
Oscar Nemon first sculpted Freud from life in 1931, when he was twenty-five, to commemorate Freud’s seventy-fifth birthday. The sculpture planned for Vienna was enlarged by Nemon during the 1960s from a maquette he created in 1936. We will be covering the casting of the bronze and following the story up to the unveiling in the new year.
Reporting the original 1931 portrait, Freud commented in his diary “The head, which the gaunt, goatee-bearded artist has fashioned from the dirt – like the good Lord – is very good and an astonishingly life-like impression of me” [24/7/31], while Anna wrote from Vienna on 25 September 1934:
Dear Mr Nemon,
to my great surprise I have received the small bust of my father as a present from you in Lucerne and I thank you most sincerely for the extraordinary delight that you have given me. The bust is admired by everyone who sees it. To me it appears – I hardly dare say this – even more human and animated than the larger one.
My brother says that the small bust can be re-ordered from you. May I do this on the present occasion? I would like to give it as a present to my sister and would be delighted if I could receive it for October the 16th [her birthday]. In case this is not possible I will keep the present for Christmas.
Once again please accept my most sincere gratitude.
Anna Freud [translated from the German by Katrin Wehling].
[Information taken from The Diary of Sigmund Freud, 1931 edited with notes by Michael Molnar].