Freud Museum London
Listed house in Hampstead where Sigmund Freud and his family lived after fleeing the Nazis in 1938. The Museum was founded in 1986. It has featured in numerous films and TV broadcasts and hosts regular exhibitions and events. It is available for hire for filming and evening functions.
Senior Citizens: £7
Concs: £5.00 (with valid student ID card, children aged 12-16, unemployed persons, disabled persons)
Under 12s: Free
- Museums Association
Our library, study and research facilities are open by appointment only.
Sigmund Freud's large collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Oriental antiquities and his library. His study with the psychoanalytic couch preserve his working environment. A reference library, archive and picture library document the history of psychoanalysis.
Archaeology, Archives, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Personalities, Social History
Key artists and exhibits
- Freud's couch; Dali portrait of Freud; Brouillet print of Charcot; Abu Simbel print; photographs of Yvette Guilbert, Princess Marie Bonaparte, Lou Andreas-Salome, Charcot, Freud family.
Freud, Dalí and the Metamorphosis of Narcissus
- 3 October 2018 — 24 February 2019 *on now
Sigmund Freud and Salvador Dalí are two of the most significant and influential figures of the twentieth century.
Dalí was a passionate admirer of the father of psychoanalysis and finally met him in London on July 19th 1938. This year 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of this event. A new exhibition at the Freud Museum will explore the connection between the two men, starting from their one meeting, to which Dalí brought his recently completed painting The Metamorphosis of Narcissus.
The painting, on loan from the Tate, will be the central point in the exhibition for an exploration of the extensive influence of Freud on Dalí and on Surrealism. Also considered will be Freud’s own attitude to painting, illuminated by his response to this encounter with Dalí.
Dalí had read The Interpretation of Dreams as an art student in Madrid in the early 1920s. This was, he wrote, “one of the capital discoveries of my life, and I was seized with a real vice of self-interpretation, not only of my dreams but of everything that happened to me.” This passion for self-interpretation took not just visual but also written form. In 1933 Dalí wrote a “psycho-analytical essay”, as he described it, on the famous painting by Jean-François Millet, The Angelus. The essay was eventually published as a book, The Tragic Myth of Millet’s ‘Angelus’. In it, Dalí explores his own obsession with the painting, which he lays out in the form of a Freudian case history.
In 1938, after several attempts, Dalí finally met his hero Freud, newly arrived in London after fleeing from Nazi-occupied Vienna. The meeting was brokered by Stefan Zweig, who was present, together with Dalí’s friend and patron Edward James, who owned The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. Dalí hoped his painting would allow him to engage Freud in a discussion of the psychoanalytical theory of Narcissism and would help him to demonstrate his concept of critical paranoia.
Dali was given permission to sketch Freud during the visit. These drawings, now in the Fundacio Gala-Salvador Dalí in Spain, will be on display, and Dali’s long poem with the same title as the painting, The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. There will also be material from the Freud Museum’s archive and collections, shedding light on Freud’s attitude to Dalí and their meeting.
Other themes of the exhibition will include the classical origins of the myth of Narcissus and the place of narcissism in psychoanalytic thinking. Freud’s own collections will play a part. For example, they include a copy of the classical relief Gradiva; Freud’s study of Wilhelm Jensen’s novel Gradiva was the inspiration for some of Dalí’s important paintings and drawings on this theme from the early 1930s.
Through images, including original paintings and drawings, photographs and prints, and documents including letters, manuscripts, books and Freud’s appointment diary, the intense – if somewhat one-sided -relationship between two extraordinary thinkers and creators will be explored.
The exhibition will be curated by the distinguished art historian Dawn Ades, curator of the recent highly successful Dali/Duchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.
£9, £7, £5
Introducing Freud at the Freud Museum: 12 Week Evening Course
- 20 September — 6 December 2018 *on now
Tutor: Keith Barrett BA PhD
As Freud is so frequently referenced, it can easily be assumed that we already know everything about him, but the superficial manner in which his life and ideas are normally discussed conceals the fact that his writings and the thought behind them are poorly understood at the level of popular awareness, and that an accurate picture of Freud that does justice to the true nature of his achievements has never fully emerged. This situation has been exacerbated by the series of intense controversies that has raged around his ideas since they first became internationally known.
Nevertheless, since the mid-1970’s, distinguished scholars – including historians of science and cultural historians – have been producing groundbreaking studies illuminating in detail the context in which Freud was working, and the sequence of steps by which he arrived at the central ideas and methods of psychoanalysis. Taking the results of all these studies together, we now have an accurate and nuanced picture of Freud as a scientific investigator and therapeutic innovator, and of the actual process through which psychoanalysis was created.
The aim of ‘Introducing Freud’ is to revisit Freud’s most important writings – bringing to bear on our critical examination of his texts the results of the last 40 years of Freud scholarship. We will also take into account the major critiques of Freud’s work advanced in the last 70 years – for example, the feminist critique of Freud and the positivist critique of the scientific status of psychoanalysis – as well as exploring the important changes in our view of Freud brought about by advances in psychoanalysis itself.
Each session of the course will focus on selected passages from Freud’s writings (all the readings are taken from ‘The Freud Reader’ edited by Peter Gay), with the aim of enabling students to familiarise (or re-familiarise) themselves directly with his ideas, while clarifying the import of his most important concepts and theories, as well as his approach to the practice of psychoanalysis. This will provide the basis on which to evaluate the most recent scholarship devoted to the re-assessment of his achievements – and the current state of play in the principal debates surrounding his legacy.
We will place Freud’s writings accurately in their historical context – while also bringing into focus the relevance of his work to debates that are taking place at the present time.
The course will be accessible to beginners – but is also designed for those already familiar with Freud’s work who wish to acquaint themselves with the results of the latest research and scholarship and update themselves on the intellectual issues and controversies surrounding it.
£130 - £190
PROJECTIONS: Women in Horror Films
- 1 October — 5 November 2018 *on now
The horror genre in film follows from the literary tradition established by Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, eliciting physiological and psychological reactions through suspense, gore, the macabre and the supernatural. Horror films transfix and terrify audiences in equal measure, unfailingly achieving suspension of disbelief because fear is a universal emotion. Via Freud, Kristeva, Lacan and Laing's theories, we can explore the proposition that the horror genre affords us an indispensable language for approaching the complex dimensions of feminine subjectivity.
Full Price £100
Friend of the Museum £75
Everyday Madness: Lisa Appignanesi in conversation with Adam Phillips
- 24 October 2018 7-8:30pm
‘The small translucent bottle of shampoo outlived him. It was the kind you take home from hotels in distant places. For over a year it had sat on the shower shelf where he had left it. I looked at it every day.’
After the death of her partner of thirty-two years, Lisa Appignanesi was thrust into a state striated by rage and superstition in which sanity felt elusive. The dead of prior generations loomed large and haunting. Then, too, the cultural and political moment seemed to collude with her condition: everywhere people were dislocated and angry.
In this electrifying and brave examination of an ordinary enough death and its aftermath, Appignanesi uses all her evocative and analytic powers to scrutinize her own and our society’s experience of grieving, the effects of loss and the potent, mythical space it occupies in our lives.
With searing honesty, lashed by humour, she navigates us onto the terrain of childhood, the way it forms our feelings of love and hate, and steers us towards a less tumultuous version of the everyday.
Magic, Myth and Madness: Occult and Psychoanalytical Theory in the Art of Surrealism, Nadia Choucha
- 31 October 2018 7-9pm
The surrealist movement began shortly after the end of World War I. It aimed to liberate the individual from the constraints of bourgeois morality and thus cause revolutionary change in society. The early years of the movement were characterised by an emphasis on Marxist politics and psychoanalytical theory. Freudian theories about hysteria, dream symbolism, psychosexual imagery and the uncanny were used by surrealists to create haunting and provocative works of art. Freud’s use of myth to explain aspects of the psyche and his concept of the ‘omnipotence of thought’ opened doors for the surrealists to conduct their own explorations of magic and mythology. From the 1930s onwards, the surrealists became increasingly engaged with mythological themes and the hidden, symbolic language of magic and occult philosophy which is expressed through a wide range of works by artists such as Max Ernst, André Masson and Salvador Dalí.
In this presentation, Nadia Choucha analyses and compares the creative strategies of surrealist artists and writers whose work combined elements of occult symbolism with psychoanalytical and mythological themes. They aimed to reveal the secrets of the unconscious and create a ‘new myth’ for their time and, in doing so, they redefined the role of the artist as magician and the purpose of art as a means towards self-knowledge, transformation and illumination.
Nadia Choucha has degrees from the University of Edinburgh and King’s College London. Her book Surrealism and the Occult was published by Mandrake, Oxford in 1991 (2nd edition, 2016). She is based in London where she works for an academic research institute and is also an independent scholar and member of ESSWE (European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism).
What is a Discourse? Knowledge, Entropy, and Life in Lacan
- 4 November 2018 10am-5pm
In what is arguably his most politically oriented work, 'Seminar XVII – The Other Side of Psychoanalysis' (1969-70), Jacques Lacan coins the neologism anthropie in order to refer to a form of entropy – a degradation or loss of energy – that would be specific to the anthropos, the human animal. In this one-day intensive course we will scrutinise this expression by first unravelling the closely related notion of discourse, which is the main focus of 'Seminar XVII'.
Second, we will see how, in his early Seminars of the 1950s, Lacan already attempted to single out the peculiarity of the speaking animal with respect to other forms-of-life by pointing out that its potentially self-destructive death instinct is somehow anti-entropically contained through the concomitant production of information as an increase in “levels of differentiation”.
Third, we will dwell on how 'Seminar XVII' further articulates and rectifies this scenario. At this point, the symbolic order of language, discourse, and knowledge is no longer simply seen as a tentative solution to the “perturbed” biological nature of Homo sapiens but also as an integral part of its predicament. The very slowing down of entropy – the separation of linguistic life from animal undeadness – itself enhances entropy. There is a structural entropic feature of knowledge that attempts to totalise knowledge, or differentiation, which increasingly indifferentiates it in a chaotic manner.
On the one hand, this endeavour – epitomised by the capitalist-bureaucratic capture of knowledge and its contradictory brandishing of the “happy life” as an elimination of loss – is itself inconclusive. On the other hand, the enhancement of entropy through knowledge may turn out to be truly irreversible and can already be given very concrete or at least evocative names, such a nuclear holocaust, environmental point of no return, pandemic malware, super-intelligent AI takeover, and so on.
£45 - £65
- 7 November 2018 7-8:30pm
Julia Neuberger and Julia Samuel have been friends for many years.
Both know bereavement from every angle.
Julia Samuel wrote Grief Works as the definitive guide for anyone who is grieving the death of someone they care about. Julia Neuberger works with bereaved families and has written textbooks for nurses and others on how best to treat dying people and their families from diverse communities.
The two Julias will discuss the grieving process, how friends and family can support the bereaved, and when it is time to call in the professionals.
£9 - £11
Narcissus, Oedipus and the Persistence of Memory
- 13 November 2018 7-8:30pm
Why does the myth of Narcissus continue to fascinate and provoke the contemporary artistic imagination?
In what ways does classical mythology in general hold up a mirror to the anxieties and aspirations of the here-and-now?
This lecture will address these and other questions relating to the enduring power of ancient myth – above all, the tales of metamorphosis contained in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Writer and academic James Cahill will discuss how these stories have continued to infiltrate and inspire the art of the last hundred years, both overtly and in more oblique or unexpected ways, while also giving fundamental shape to modern literature and psychoanalysis. He will argue that Salvador Dalí’s iconic reimagining of the Narcissus myth stands at the crux between different modes of ‘response’ to the classical, looking simultaneously backwards (to the mythologizing paintings of the Renaissance, for instance) and forwards to the experiments of conceptual art and postmodernism – at once an illustration of the ancient myth and an enactment of its subliminal themes.
Patron £ 9
PROJECTIONS: Surrealist Cinema
- 17 November 2018 10am-5pm
Surrealist artists are interested in the capacity of film to nullify reality’s boundaries.
As the critic René Gardies observed in 1968, film is “a privileged instrument de-realising the world, providing alchemical tools for transforming reality.”
In this course, we will explore the overlap between the psychoanalytic method and surrealist cinema – two disciplines that insist on the supremacy of the unconscious, working through absurd dream logic, calling out the banality and hypocrisy of so-called civilised society.
Studying works by filmmakers including Luis Buñuel, Věra Chytilová, David Lynch, Guy Maddin, Jan Švankmajer and Maya Deren, the proposition is that surrealism is a revolutionary anti-art much like the psychoanalytic process, unlocking the mind’s creative potential by overcoming repression.
Please go to the website for the day's schedule.
The Minotaur, the Painted Lady and the Egg
- 30 November 2018 7-10:30pm
Join us for our first ever surrealist costume ball marking the meeting of two great minds; Sigmund Freud and Salvador Dalí, 80 years ago.
Dress code: Freud, Dalí, Surrealism
Whatever you do, leave the ordinary and every day at home.
You will be serenaded by a sonic music surrealist DJ dream created by a “Female Figure with Head of Flowers” Auntie Maureen. Flowers, soundscapes and electronic beats weave together a musical dream on a Freudian dance floor. Prancing, dancing and surreal self-expression are all most welcome.
Join London Drawing Group for a true celebration of the surrealist manifesto – disrupt your normal drawing practices (or if you don’t have one, invent one!) embrace the chaos of creation and collaborate with others in honor of the incredible relationship between Dalí and Freud.
Throughout the evening, you will discover impromptu performances. You will be able to drop in at the LDG interactive drawing station and collaborate, create, and confuse with their resident LDG tutors, or venture into the immersive experience of Freud’s house, armed with an array of exercises and techniques to get everyone creating surrealist masterpieces!
No costume – no admission.
Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens