Frank Auerbach

b. 1931, Berlin, Germany. Lives and works in London, UK


Frank Auerbach
Frank Auerbach, Mornington Crescent with Statue of Sickert's Father-in-Law III, Summer Morning, 1966




Frank Auerbach is one of Britain’s eminent post-war painters. Born in Berlin to Jewish parents, he was sent to England at the age of seven to escape Nazism. Auerbach attended St Martin's School of Art, London, from 1948 to 1952, and also studied with David Bomberg in night classes at Borough Polytechnic where he developed a friendship with fellow student Leon Kossoff. He went on to study at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955 and has worked in same Camden studio since the 1950s.

Auerbach’s signature is the thickly textured surface of his paintings, which he uses across both portraiture and landscape. Working from sketches done in situ or with a sitter, Auerbach continuously paints and re-paints on top of the previous day’s work, dissolving details into a vibrant, expressionistic essence of a place or person. Mornington Crescent with Statue of Sickert's Father-in-Law III, Summer Morning (1966) depicts a London street with startling intensity; architectural features in bold lines of blue and red dissect a luminous electric-yellow light.

Although the process of making his work involves the daily activity of drawing and painting over the course of many months, or even years, sense of direct immediacy gives Auerbach’s work its charge. There is a sense that the surfaces of his pictures are in a transitional state and never fully fixed, reaching for the feeling of specific a moment and the passing of time.