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Auerbach: Self-Portrait (custom print)
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          Artwork details

          Auerbach: Self-Portrait, 1958
          Frank Auerbach
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          Charcoal and chalk on paper 76.8 x 56.6 cm Daniel Katz Gallery, London © Frank Auerbach, courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

          Following his first one-person show, at the Beaux Arts Gallery in 1956, Auerbach was left with ‘a sense of crisis’ partly due to reactions to the extreme material density and monochrome sobriety of his earliest paintings. During the following year and a half he only managed a few paintings and about ten drawings but these heads and figure studies were as heavily worked as the oils. Creating strong contrast light and dark areas, by vigorously handling charcoal sticks and an eraser. When the paper began to break or become too thin, if it wasn’t ready, he would collage a fresh patch in order to finish. This self-portrait from 1958, isn’t quite as extreme in contrasting as some of his other works.

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          Artist details

          Born in 1931 in Berlin to Jewish parents, Auerbach was sent to England in 1939 to escape Nazism. After studying in a number of art schools, including the Royal College of Art, he moved to Camden, where he has lived and painted in the same studio since the 1950s. Frank Auerbach’s paintings are some of the most resonant, inventive and perpetually alive works of art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Since his early works, his intentions have been consistent: ‘To record the life that seemed to me to be passionate and exciting and disappearing all the time’.

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