Lucian Freud: Portraits

Saturday 22 September | 10am–11am

Photographer, David Dawson – friend, model and assistant to Lucian Freud  - and art critic and writer Martin Gayford discuss Freud’s life and work, including the role David played in both and their experience of being painted by one of the most brilliant artists of the twentieth and early twenty first centuries.

Freud’s career lasted almost seven decades; he continued to paint until the day he died, aged 88, in 2011. Organising Freud's working existence and seeing him every day in his studio, for the last 20 years of the artist’s life, it was David Dawson who spent more time with Freud than anyone else. He also knew, better than anyone, what it was like to sit for a portrait by Freud.

David features in at least seven of Freud’s pictures, including the unfinished portrait Freud was working on when he died. From time to time, during the progress of a picture, David – himself a painter and a photographer - would take a photograph, creating an extraordinary visual record. David’s photographs have been published in two books and exhibited nationally and internationally.

The historian, art critic and author, Martin Gayford, sat for Lucian Freud in 2003-5 (Man with a Blue Scarf). David’s photograph of Freud and Martin alongside Freud’s portrait of Martin, reveals much of the complex relationship between artist, sitter and portrait.

Now, in collaboration with the Freud Foundation and others, David Dawson and Martin Gayford have made major contributions to Lucian Freud, an important two-volume book, which is the most comprehensive work yet about the artist. In their talk they will be drawing on some of its 500 illustrations of his paintings, drawings and sketches, prints and etchings.

Lucian Freud published by Phaidon in September 2018 includes 12 paintings from the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth, and the portrait Man with a Blue Scarf.


David Dawson, and Martin Gayford credit Josephine Gayford
David Dawson, and Martin Gayford credit Josephine Gayford

Banner image: Lucian Freud, Baby on a green sofa, 1961, oil on canvas. Copyright Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images