David Dawson

Wales / °1960 / wikipedia
"An extraordinary insight into the notoriously private world of the painter Lucian Freud through the eyes of his model and studio assistant David Dawson. The exhibition features Dawson's remarkably intimate photographs of the artist at work as well as his own rarely-seen paintings of the street outside his studio in Kensal Rise, placing them alongside etchings by Freud himself.

During 20 years as Freud's assistant, model, and friend, David Dawson was witness to the creation of some of the most celebrated paintings of our age. His unique access led to the development of a portfolio of strikingly intimate photographs of Freud which have become iconic works in their own right. Recently his image of Freud painting the Queen was chosen by both Nick Clegg and Lord Mandelson for the Whitechapel's exhibition of works from the Government Art Collection. This exhibition features several of his most evocative photographs including ‘Working at Night' (2005) and ‘Lucian with Fox Club' (2005).

Less well known are Dawson's own paintings which he would return to every afternoon after his work with Freud was done. His work reflects and records what he sees around him, the cul-de-sac in suburban north-west London where he lives and the shifting skies he witnesses from his studio window in Kensal Rise: ‘Living with my studio in my house, I would use the view out of my studio window as the motif to structure my painting,' says Dawson. ‘I would always use this as the starting point and the reference to go back to again and again'

Dawson was one of Freud's most consistent models and he is the subject of the artist's final work--an unfinished nude portrait with Dawson's whippet, Eli--which will feature alongside 100 other works spanning 70-year career at the National Portrait Gallery (9 Feb. to 27 May 2012).

Exhibition notes: "David Dawson: Working with Lucian Freud," 2012. http://pallant.org.uk/exhibitions1/past-exhibitions1/2012/main-galleries/david-dawson-working-with-lucian-freud
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Suzan Hamer


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photography artist studio model