Frank Auerbach

  • Born 1931 in Berlin, Germany

Frank Auerbach was sent to England by his parents in 1939 to escape Nazi persecution of Jewish people in Germany. His parents died in a concentration camp. From 1947 to 1953 he attended the evening painting class of David Bomberg (1890–1957) at Borough Polytechnic in London, where he met Leon Kossoff (b. 1926). He first studied at London’s St Martin's School of Art from 1948 to 1952, and afterwards at the Royal College of Art until 1955. Auerbach taught at several institutions, including secondary schools and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. He lived and worked most of his life in Camden Town, London and repeatedly returned to the people and urban landscapes near his studio. Auerbach’s paintings were never entirely abstract but were always grounded in his close reality. He is known for his thick impasto technique, as well as for his painstaking attempts to achieve the image he wants. He sometimes scraped his canvases dozens of times before realizing a finished work. Auerbach is considered a central figure of the so-called School of London alongside artists such as Francis Bacon (1909–1992) and Lucian Freud (1922–2011). In 1986 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and was awarded, with Sigmar Polke (1941–2010), the Golden Lion prize.

Artworks by Frank Auerbach in the exhibition