To coincide with the launch of IMMA Collection Freud Project 2016-2021 : special guests Sarah Howgate Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery London and David Dawson artist, painter, photographer and Freud’s assistant, offer an insightful reflection on Freud’s studio, archive and last major exhibition held at the NPG, involving the artist during his lifetime. This provides the context to address Freud’s continued relevance for contemporary portraiture and artists today.
This talk took place on 20 October 2016 at IMMA.
Sarah Howgate has been Contemporary Curator at the National Portrait Gallery since 2001. One of her key roles is the managing of Gallery commissions, which have included Sam Taylor-Wood’s portrait of David Beckham, Dryden Goodwin’s portrait of Sir Steve Redgrave and Michael Craig-Martin’s portrait of Zaha Hadid. She has curated two major exhibitions for the Gallery: David Hockney Portraits in 2006 and Lucian Freud Portraits in 2012. Her displays have included Alex Katz Portraits, a focus on this important aspect of the artist’s work. Before joining the Gallery Sarah worked for Angela Flowers Gallery first in London and then in Santa Monica, California, where she set up a new space specialising in British figurative art. Sarah judges the annual BP Portrait Award and next year will judge the Nordic Portrait Prize in St Petersburg and at our sister institution in Fredericksborg. Sarah also sits on the recently formed Royal Society Pictures Working Group. For the past decade she has dedicated her research to contemporary portraiture within this genre of self-portraits. Recent Publications include the catalogues for the David Hockney Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 2006 and Lucian Freud Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 2012. In 2006, she co-wrote The Portrait Now with Director, Sandy Nairne. She has also worked with Sandy on the 21st Century Portrait, published this year.
David Dawson is artist; painter and photographer. He studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art and at the Royal College of Art. He met Lucian Freud soon after he had completed his MA and began to work as his studio assistant. In 2000, he began photographing the daily life of Freud's studio, documenting the progress of the artist's work and showing the artist and model together in the studio. Dawson was Freud’s assistant and model from 1990 until the artist’s death in 2011. He posed regularly for Freud and appears in paintings such as Sunny Morning–Eight Legs 1997 (Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago). In a 2004 interview Dawson described how their relationship evolved:
Dawson is also author of A Painter's Progress: A Portrait of Lucian Freud, 2014, this book features the final images of hanging of Freud’s work in his posthumous London exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Haunting and fascinating, this is a revelatory document about one of our most important and influential painters.
IMMA Collection Freud Project 2016-2021 features a selection of 30 of the artist’s finest paintings, and 20 works on paper. The works, mainly dating from 1970 onwards, explore several of the artist’s key themes such as Portraiture; Self Portraiture; Still-life; Animals and Nature; works that reflect his interest in the people and the natural world.
Image Credit: Freud, Lucian (1922-2011) / Reflection (Self Portrait) / 1985 / (oil on canvas) / Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Image