In the years right after World War II, when Abstract Expressionism exploded, everybody knew that British painting, mired in what was assumed to be an increasingly obsolete realism, could not hope to produce a major figure again. Everybody was wrong. Six decades later, there are at least three: Francis Bacon, David Hockney--and Lucian Freud, who was 88 when he died on July 20. As a portraitist, Freud was an acute psychologist, shrewd and unsparing, a fitting descendant of his grandfather Sigmund Freud. In his early work, he used a sharp, tight line that he'd discovered in the painters of the Northern Renaissance. But in the late 1950s, in awe of the unruly art of his friend Bacon, he adopted thick hog's-bristle brushes and learned to apply paint in rich, clotted flourishes. Absorbed to the point of obsession by the human face and form, Freud didn't simply depict flesh; he dished up pigment as its meaty equivalent. With his delectable but always faintly unnerving canvases, he proved that those ancient formats, the portrait and the nude, could be indisputably, even spectacularly, modern.