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Lucian Freud: 5 Things to Know

The noted nude portrait artist – grandson to Sigmund Freud, brother to British TV personality Clement Freud - died in London Wednesday at 88.

Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Noted nude portrait artist Lucian Freud died in London Wednesday at 88 from an undisclosed illness, confirms his art dealer, William Acquavella of Acquavella Galleries.

Here are a few things you may not know about him.

1. His father, Ernst, was Sigmund Freud's youngest son. His brother is British television personality Clement Freud.

2. He was heavily influenced by artist Francis Bacon, who was the subject of one of his most famous works, an oil painted on copper in 1952. They both showed art at the Venice Biennale in 1954.

3. His work was not popular in the United States until the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington exhibited his art in 1987. He was soon after proclaimed the "greatest living realist painter." The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City displayed a retrospective of his work in 1993.

4. He was born in Berlin in Dec. 8, 1922, but his family fled to London after Hitler came into power in 1933. He didn't excel in school, and considered becoming a horse jockey, the New York Times reports. In 1938, he was expelled from the Bryanston school after dropping his pants on the street on a dare. But he was accepted into the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London because of his notable sculpture of a horse. He later enrolled in the East Anglian School of Drawing -- and there's a rumor that he accidentally started a fire with a discarded cigarette that burned the school to the ground. It has been ruled unlikely.

5. He joined the Merchant Navy in 1941 with hopes of moving to New York City. The convoy ship on which he served only made it to Halifax, Nova Scotia, however. When it returned to Liverpool, he came down with tonsillitis and earned a medical discharge from the military.

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