Magazine article The Spectator

Culture Notes: Spirit of Soho

Magazine article The Spectator

Culture Notes: Spirit of Soho

Article excerpt

Credit: Jack Wakefield

Every so often, John Deakin, jug-eared chronicler of Soho and hanger-on at the Colony Rooms, is breathlessly rediscovered as the unknown giant behind Bacon and the forgotten man from Soho's  generation of genius. All that is so much tosh: Deakin is no genius and he has not been forgotten. In fact, he can never be forgotten, most importantly because Bacon commissioned photographs from Deakin that he used to make his paintings but also because Deakin himself was the subject of one of Freud's greatest portraits (above) and because Deakin's photographs capture Bohemian Soho in aspic for the mental tourist of the future.

InUnder the Influence: John Deakin and the Lure of Soho at the Photographer's Gallery (until 13 July), his shortcomings are made very clear -- the show includes Deakin's contrived and derivative paintings and his street and sub-Beaton fashion photography. …

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