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John Deakin

John Deakin at the National Portrait Gallery: Bacon and the Soho bohemia

Retrospective on until 14 July

This photograph of Francis Bacon was taken by John Deakin in 1952 for Vogue. Photographer for the magazine and amateur painter, Deakin’s eccentric behaviour and extravagant drinking habits made him a well-known figure in Soho’s bohemian circles. A close friend of Bacon’s, in the 1960s the painter commissioned Deakin to take photographic portraits of mutual friends for him to use as aides-memoires for his own portraits of them. Twenty of these are on display in a John Deakin retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery (12 April-14 July) curated by Robin Muir which also includes images of some of the leading figures in the art world: poets Dylan Thomas and W.H. Auden, actors Paul Scofield, Yves Montand and John Mills, film directors Luchino Visconti and David Lean and painters such as Lucien Freud, Robert Colquhoun, Frank Auerbach and Robert MacBryde with whom Deakin was closely associated.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Bacon with Bacon'

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 58 April 1996