Contemporary Art

Go Inside the Life and Studio of Lucian Freud with David Dawson, His Former Assistant and Author of New Book

By Stephanie Sporn

A ccording to writer and critic Martin Gayford, Lucian Freud’s career “was one of the great marathon performances of art history.” After fleeing Nazi Germany and moving to London in 1933, Freud began producing art as a teenager and would continue depicting both everyday and royal subjects until his death in 2011. Co-authored with David Dawson, Freud’s assistant, recurring model and now director of the Freud Archive, Gayford has produced the most complete publication to date on the legendary artist. Titled Lucian Freud (Phaidon), the newly published book, edited by Mark Holborn, features specially commissioned essays, as well as private letters, illustrations and artwork, including Freud’s last, unfinished painting. (Through 31 December, the book can be purchased with a 20% off discount code: FREUD20.) In the following four videos, explore the life of one of the 20th and 21st centuries’ greatest artist through one of the men who knew him best.

In this video, David Dawson reflects on how Lucian Freud had two studios for painting – one for day portraits painted under natural light, the other for evening and nighttime pictures painted under electric light.

David Dawson shares how Freud made his studio extensions of his living space, painting the walls umber to absorb any reflected light and locking the doors for the utmost privacy.

David Dawson discusses the painstaking efforts to document every decade of Freud’s work, including sketchings and etchings, as well as paintings for Phaidon's new two-volume set, the most complete retrospective of his career to date.

David Dawson talks about how Lucian Freud’s last painting was of Dawson and his dog Eli. It was unfinished, but Freud wanted the painting to be seen.

Through 31 December, Lucian Freud (Phaidon) can be purchased with a 20% off discount code: FREUD20

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