Lucian Freud archive director David Dawson

Who is David Dawson giving his book to this Christmas?

The Lucian Freud archive director tells us about his highs and lows of 2018 and who’ll be getting a great gift

Though David Dawson is an artist in his own right, he was also Lucian Freud’s assistant from 1991 until Freud’s death in July 2011. Dawson sat for many of the great painter’s works, and is now the Director of the Lucian Freud Archive, and also a co-author of our sumptuous, authoritative Lucian Freud two-volume edition, the most comprehensive publication to date on one of the greatest painters of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

As 2018 draws to a close, it shouldn’t surprise us to find Dawson reflecting on Freud’s legacy, as well as his latter-day fans, and who in the art world may continue to draw from the painter’s body of work. Read on to discover where Dawson himself seeks inspiration, which Freud exhibition he is working on for 2019, and to whom he plans to give our Lucian Freud book this Christmas.


A spread from our new Lucian Freud
A spread from our new Lucian Freud

What inspired you most this year? The landscape in Wales and the paintings it inspired me to create outside in the hills of Montgomeryshire, mid Wales. It was where I spent my formative years, which made me want to be an artist.

What annoyed you most? I don’t like giving negative answers!

What was your personal highlight? Opening the book for the first time in the kitchen of my house. I think Lucian would have been pleased with it.

What can we expect from you in 2019? I’m curating a show of Lucian’s self-portraits at the Royal Academy in October. It’s the first ever exhibition consisting solely of his self-portraits which he did throughout his life from when he was a young teenager into his eighties.

Who will you give your Phaidon book to for Xmas? David Hockney and Tracey Emin. Tracey will love the truth and honesty that Lucian painted and David will appreciate the way he painted.


Lucian Freud
Lucian Freud

To see the book Emin and Hockney will be opening on Christmas day, order a copy our new Lucian Freud book here.