Freud's early paintings are often associated with surrealism and depict people and plants in unusual juxtapositions. These works are usually painted with quite thin paint, but from the 1950s he began to paint portraits, often nudes, to the almost complete exclusion of everything else, and began to use a thicker impasto. The colours in these paintings are typically muted.
Often Freud's portraits just depict the sitter, sometimes sprawled naked on the floor or on a bed, but sometimes the sitter is juxtaposed with some other thing, as in Naked Girl with Egg (1980-81) and Naked Man with Rat (1977).
Freud is one of the best known British artists working in a traditional representational style. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989.
According to the Sunday Telegraph of September 1, 2002, he is rumoured to have up to 40 illegitimate children, acknowledging them when they have become adults. He married Kathleen Epstein in 1948. He married writer Caroline Blackwood in 1957. He has children by Jacquetta Lampson, daughter of the first Baron Killearn, and by Bernardine Coverley (one of whom is writer Esther Freud), Suzy Boyt, and Margaret McAdam.