Jake Auerbach, the artist’s son, is the subject of this portrait. Auerbach didn’t see his son for 12 years, but Jake has regularly sat for his father on a weekly basis since then. Jake has commented that in this particular portrait, he can tell what sort of mood that he was is, with ‘big questions’ in his head – ‘There was a crossroads and for me, at least, I think it shows in the picture.’
Head of Jake
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on board 61.3 x 50.8 cm Private Collection © Frank Auerbach, courtesy Marlborough Gallery
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’.