theage.com.au: "Among the secret passions the father of psychoanalysis kept to himself was an overpowering urge to collect antiquities. Janine Burke investigates.
FREUD WAS NOT ALONE when he entered the sea of dreams; his companions were the gods of Egypt, Greece and Rome. In the late 1890s, while writing The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud became an art collector, developing an obsession with antiquity, beauty, myth and archaeology that led him to amass a brilliant private museum of more than 2000 statues, vases, reliefs, busts, fragments of papyrus, rings, precious stones and prints. In Freud's study at Berggasse 19, Vienna, every available surface was so crowded with antiquities that he barely had room to move.
Despite Freud's modest assertion that he was 'no connoisseur in art but simply a layman', his taste was precise and discerning, making his collection an intriguing catalogue of world civilisations where objects rare and sacred, useful and arcane, ravaged and lovely are on display: neolithic tools, delicate Sumerian seals, a great goddess of the middle bronze age, Egyptian mummy bandages inscribed with magical spells and stained with embalming ointment, superb Hellenistic statues, images of the sphinx, erotic Roman charms, luxurious Persian carpets and Chinese jade lions no bigger than a baby's fist.
The popular image of Freud as austere, remote and forbidding is contradicted by the collection, which reveals a very different personality: an impulsive, hedonistic spender, an informed and finicky aesthete, a tomb raider complicit in the often illegal trade in antiquities, a tourist who revelled in sensual, Mediterranean journeys, a generous fellow who lavished exquisite gifts on his family and friends, and a tough negotiator for a bargain."
The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds will be exhibiting a number of his collected objects in early 2006, where for the first time visitors will be able to view the objects from the same perspective as Freud.
His bronze, wood and marble sculptures were gathered from Egypt, China, Greece and Rome and have until now been exhibited behind barriers at the Freud Museum in London.