1 October 2010 – 10 January 2011
Gods and Monsters pairs iconic portraits of British artists by the legendary (and infamous) Vogue photographer John Deakin (1912-1972) with major paintings by each artist, providing a unique view of early post-war British art and the artistic bohemia of London’s Soho.
Artists and subjects include: Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, John Craxton, Lucian Freud, John Minton, and Eduardo Paolozzi.
Until recently John Deakin has been missing from photographic history. He resisted his talent fiercely, treating success with mistrust and greeting failure with indifference. His career began with Vogue but, despite achieving recognition for the photographs he took there he never took it seriously and never expected it to make him a living. Deakin's bad behaviour was legendary and he remains the only staff photographer in the magazine's history to be hired and fired twice by the same admiring but exasperated editor.
Deakin yearned to be a painter like his friends Francis Bacon, Robert Colquhoun, Lucian Freud and Michael Andrews, whom in time he would photograph. In turn, Andrews and Freud both painted his likeness. Loved and loathed in equal measure, Deakin was a celebrated part of the artistic circle that convened in the pubs and clubs of Soho, London's bohemian quarter, the lure of which eventually led him away from regular employment
Gods and Monsters is drawn largely from a portfolio commissioned by Vogue in 1951 and 1952 of twelve contemporary artists, shown here in its entirety for the first time, along with other portraits of painters and sculptors Deakin made for the magazine at various times throughout his brief career. Vogue has agreed to lend its vintage prints, which in their ragged state show the patina of age and handling that accrues to a magazine's raw material. Further, like so much of Deakin's oeuvre, they are lucky to have survived him. They were only re-discovered in Vogue's archives in the early 1990s.