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Frank Auerbach Head of J. Y. M., 1978, 
Oil on canvas, 61 x 66 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Frank Auerbach
Head of J. Y. M. (1978)

Oil on canvas, 61 x 66 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Painting: More Details


Biography [Painter & Printmaker]

1931  Born in Berlin
1948-52  Studied at St Martin's School of Art, London
1952-55  Studied at the Royal College of Art, London
2011  Lives and works in London

frank auerbach by lucian freud



1931. Berlin. The year & place Auerbach was born - a time when the popularity of the Nazi party was on the rise in Germany against a backdrop of uniform resentment at the austerity and unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles. By 1933 they were in power and Germany and the world would never be the same.

At the age of 8, in 1939, his Jewish parents sent him to Bunce Court school in Kent to avoid the political situation in Germany (on the eve of the 2nd World War). That was the last contact he had with them.

Why did his parents not follow him to the UK? According to Auerbach, they thought that nothing would come of the Nazi party, that it was all talk and rhetoric. But I wonder. They would have feared the Nazi party on a daily basis and would have heard if not seen the brutality that was omnipresent. They were 'rather elderly parents' when they had him and maybe were set in their ways and views and maybe thought the world turned with them, that everything and everyone would settle down to as it was before. But it didn't and the story of his parents is yet another tragic story in a cast of millions.

At Bunce Court he discovered a black & white reproduction of Turner's the Fighting Temeraire. He became aware of Michelangelo and Breughel, community spirit and the normality of art.

After the 2nd World War he acted in small parts in several London theatres and in 1947 attended painting classes at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute . The following year he attended the Borough Polytechnic Institute before entering St. Martin’s School of Art, where he met Leon Kossoff and Phil Holmes.

Frank Auerbach



In 1952 Auerbach studied at the Royal College of Art with Joe Tilson, Bridget Riley and Leon Kossoff after being judged unfit for military service.

In 1954 he acquired Gustav Metzger’s former studio in Camden, London. It was run down with an outside loo and riddled with damp. But it was all he could afford and out of sheer ecomonic need he stayed there as without it he would have had nothing. For over 50 years he has remained there and though it has been rebuilt and he is now well off that feeling of sheer economic need has stayed with him.

He continued participating in David Bomberg’s drawing classes at the Borough throughout 1954. The following year he left the Royal College with a silver medal and first-class honors

1956 saw his first one-man show at the Beaux Arts Gallery. Around this time he began painting a series of building sites and Julia Yardley Mills (JYM) began to model for portraits. In 1958 he married Julia Wolstenholme. Son Jacob was born.

Frank Auerbach


At the beginning of the 60s, Auerbach began studies of great works of art, which included Rembrandt’s Deposition and Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia. In 1966, he began a series focused on Camden Palace Theatre.

1978 saw his first retrospective by the Arts Council of Great Britain for Hayward Gallery, London. In 1981 his work was shown at the New Spirit in Painting show at the Royal Academy, London. Five years later, he was chosen for the British Pavilion at the XLII Venice Biennale. Won the Golden Lion Prize with Sigmar Polke.

Frank Auerbach


In 1995, the National Gallery exhibition : Working After the Masters focused on Auerbach's studies of works in the gallery over a 30-year period. 2000 and the Artists of CORNER Udstillingen invited Auerbach to be a guest artist at their annual exhibition in Copenhagen.

2000 and the newly-opened Tate Modern displayed a room of his pictures. The following year a film by Hannah Rothschild and Jake Auerbach documented the locations and sitters in Auerbach’s work.

Also in 2001, and to mark the artist's 71st year, theRoyal Academy had a retrospective exhibition of his work.


SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

1956  Beaux-Arts Gallery, London
1965  Marlborough Fine Art, London
1978  Hayward Gallery, London (Arts Council of Great Britain)
1982  Marlborough Gallery, New York
1986  British Pavilion XLII Venice Biennale (Awarded the Golden Lion)
1986-87  Kunstverein in Hamburg; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Centro de Arte Reina, Sofia, Madrid
1989  Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam
1991  Yale Center for British Art, New Haven
1995  National Gallery, London
1997  Marlborough Fine Art, London
1998  Marlborough Gallery, New York
2001  Retrospective Exhibition, Royal Academy, London


PUBLIC COLLECTIONS:

Arts Council of Great Britain; British Museum; Los Angeles County Museum; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Portrait Gallery, London; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Tate Britain; Yale Center for British Art

____________

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