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About the book
  • Published: 3 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9780224097123
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 276
  • RRP: $69.99

A Painter's Progress

A Portrait of Lucian Freud


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A hidden look at Lucian Freud, one of the greatest British painters, through the lens of his assistant

For nearly twenty years David Dawson was Lucian Freud's assistant, companion and model. Freud was famously private. He carefully avoided distraction. With few exceptions, he only wanted those he knew well, like the late Bruce Bernard, to photograph him. David Dawson was in a unique position and Freud became comfortable in the presence of his camera. Photographing became part of the daily round of the studio. The results revealed many stages of paintings in progress. Few artists, if any, have had their lives and their work recorded over such a length of time.

Among those who regularly visited Freud were figures from the art world, including John Richardson, David Hockney and Frank Auerbach, along with a flow of models and friends. He was as happy in the company of Kate Moss as he was with the Duke of Beaufort. Despite his sense of privacy, Freud's circle was wide.

The book begins in Freud's old studio in Holland Park and then records the artist in his eighteenth-century house, the first floor of which was his final studio. It ends with views of the rooms in which Freud's own extraordinary collection of paintings was hung. It is the only record of the house before the dispersal of the art on his death.

Ultimately David Dawson's photographs create an intimate portrait of the man. The final images are of the hanging of Freud's work in his posthumous London exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

  • Pub date: 3 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9780224097123
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 276
  • RRP: $69.99

About the Author

David Dawson

David Dawson was born in Wales in 1960. After leaving the Royal College of Art he combined his work as a painter with becoming an assistant to Lucian Freud, with whom he remained until Freud’s death in 2011. His photographs, alongside those of Bruce Bernard, were published by Jonathan Cape in Freud At Work in 2006. His paintings were exhibited at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester in 2012 and by Marlborough Fine Art in 2013. His photographs of Lucian Freud were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London and Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert in 2004, and at the Sigmund Freud Museum in the former Freud apartment in Vienna in 2013. He divides his time between London and Wales and over recent months he has been painting in New York.

Also by David Dawson

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Praise for A Painter's Progress

“The beauty of [Dawson’s] images is not in the immaculate execution but in the minute details of Freud’s private life that they uncover… As much a celebration of friendship as it is of the great artist.”

Aesthetic Magazine

“A volume that offers an intimate view of the artist’s life and work.”

Apollo

“As beautiful as it is revealing.”

Porter

“Dawson, Freud’s assistant and a painter himself, has the artist’s eye for a beautiful and telling image.”

Martin Gayford, Spectator

“It’s on my Christmas present list!”

Christine Bridger, Four Shires

“Beautiful and moving, this album is an artwork in itself.”

Independent

“An extraordinary photographic record of the 20 years Dawson spent as Freud’s loyal assistant.”

Mail on Sunday

“[Dawson’s] shots of the artist…are beautifully constructed, full of deep saturations.”

Charles Darwent, Literary Review


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