Born in Berlin of Jewish parents, in 1939 he was sent to England to escape Nazism. His father, a lawyer and his mother, a former art student, remained behind and perished in concentration camps. Frank Auerbach attended St. Martin’s School of Art from 1948 to 1952 and studied with David Bomberg in night classes at Borough Polytechnic, where he became friendly with fellow student Leon Kossoff. He studied at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955 and later taught at Camberwell School of Art from 1958 to 1965. Known for very thick application of paint or ‘impasto’ and strong painterly images, Auerbach has exhibited in major galleries and museums worldwide. Throughout his career he has used only a few principal models.
Frank Auerbach (b. 1931), Study for ‘To The Studios 1990-1991’, 1990
Black ink and coloured crayon on paper
13½ x 11¾ in (34.3 x 29.7 cm)
Collections: The Artist until the present day
The process of sketching on the spot is a key part of Auerbach’s working practice. Drawings executed in a variety of media on paper, help Auerbach establish the geometry of the scene and provide a crucial element in the creation of the final image.
The artist writes that his drawings recall “what it is like to actually draw them that morning…. What I see is what I was looking at when I did the drawing and it reminds me of it: that’s what it was for. I see the sunlight and the trees and the hill, so I paint from these looking at the drawing…… I’m looking at black and white drawings and the lines signal colours to me” (C. Lampert Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings 1954-2001, Royal Academy, 2001 p.124).