Iconic Lucian Freud Photographs Stages by Sotheby’s London
A visitor looks at David Dawson's "Lucian Freud painting the Queen" and a portrait of "Queen Elizabeth I" by an unknown British artist, selected for exhibition by former Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, during the press view of "Government Art Collection : At Work", at the Whitechapel Gallery. The exhibits include a selection of work from government offices and embassies, dating from the 16th century to modern day. Reuters

For the first time, two unique groups of photographs of Lucian Freud by Cecil Beaton and David Dawson have been put up for Sotheby's Summer Season of Contemporary Art Sales.

According to Sotheby's sale details, these intimate photographs give a unique insight into Freud's inner life and span different periods of the artist's life.

An Artist's Life: Photographs of Lucian Freud by Cecil Beaton and David Dawson runs till 11th August 2012 at Sotheby's on New Bond Street and coincides with the Summer 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

This is a never-before-staged dedicated show of portraits by two of Freud's most significant interpreters - Beaton, the renowned photographer and Dawson, the artist's assistant. Most of Dawson's photographs are as yet unpublished, and a number of them have never before been exhibited.

"Lucian Freud's contribution to the world of art has been immeasurable and we are therefore thrilled to be able to stage this exhibition of portraits which celebrates the life and artistic achievements of this iconic painter," Oliver Barker, Deputy Chairman Sotheby's Europe stated.

Barker said the show was a discourse between early and late, and balances artistic immortality sought through portrait photography by both Cecil Beaton, whose archive of photographs belongs to Sotheby's, and David Dawson.

Famed for his images of style and elegance, Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is one of the 20th century's most celebrated portrait photographers.

Drawn from the historic Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, the exhibition's portraits of Freud from the 1950s are regarded as one of the most iconic and compelling images of the artist as a young man.

Beaton posed Freud in many traditional Beatonesque settings like gazing through antlers, looking wistful and soulful - and the images place Freud within a historical landscape and with symbolic attributes which cast the artist as heir to a profoundly British, artistic inheritance.

David Dawson, on the other hand, was Freud's assistant for the last two decades of his life and is the subject of Freud's final, monumental work, Portrait of the Hound.

Although Freud shunned the limelight, Dawson enjoyed the artist's trust to an extraordinary degree, and these photographs capture a normal life, forming a visual diary of the artist at work, relaxing with and revisiting old friends, and even shaving. The images are a vital record of the last years of this extraordinary man.