Frank Auerbach

One of Britain's preeminent post-war painters, Frank Auerbach was born in Berlin, Germany in 1931. Arriving in England as a Jewish refugee in 1939, he attended St Martin's School of Art, London, and studied with David Bomberg in night classes at Borough Polytechnic. He then studied at the Royal College of Art and has remained in London ever since. His first exhibition was held at London's Beaux Arts Gallery in 1956; since then his works have become some of the most internationally collected of living artists.

Auerbach's organic, yet unified forms are deeply rooted in capturing the essence of a person or place and are often renditions of people he knows well or of the urban landscapes near to his London studio. His oils, drawings, and prints reveal an intense observation of the subject; he makes his mark with authority and finality, pushing abstraction to the limit while still capturing the very quintessence of his sitters. Known especially for his heavy application of paint, Auerbach is credited with making some of the most impressive, vibrant and intuitive portraits of the post-war years. A true draftsman as well as a painter, his graphic works his signature thick black lines and the concerted mark-making that he employs give his sitters a flickering quality of energy. For Auerbach, prints also carry high authority, as well as a sense of “magic” that he argues replaces emotion. While Auerbach has a deep reverence for the print medium, he has completed fewer than 40 editions throughout his career.

Auerbach first exhibited Marlborough in 1965. His work can be found in many public collections worldwide including the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, Aberdeen, Scotland, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, British Museum, London, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, Frissiras Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, England, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, Museo de Arte Moderna da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil; Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico; Museum of Modern Art, New York, National Gallery of South Africa, Cape Town, Royal College of Art, London, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Tate Britain, London and the Southampton Art Gallery, Southampton, England. Auerbach exhibited regularly at the Beaux-Arts Gallery until 1963. He was given an Arts Council retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, London in 1978, and had solo exhibitions at the British Pavilion in the 1986 Venice Biennale, and at the Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh, Amsterdam, 1989. In 2016 there was a major retrospective of his work at Tate Britain in London. He lives and works in London.