Monday, May 10, 2010

Clipped an article about Frank Auerback so long ago I cannot find it in my not-so-organized studio. He came to mind after looking at those highly-textured Joan Brown paintings of last week. (I saw one recently at SAM here; the pigment must have been nearly an inch thick.)

Anyway, I have no idea how Auerbach voted in the recent election, but he certainly must have seen plenty of rounds of governmental musical chairs over the decades. Although not quite a household name here, is well known in Britain for his rich surfaces and his penchant for building up and scraping off layers to get what he's after.

This is Rebuilding the Empire Cinema, Leicester Squa
re (1952). I love those colors, so hard to make rich and not dull and drab. What do you think?

He found his first painting subjects literally right at his feet. He recalled the time after World War II when the English were rebuilding the vast sections of London that had been bombed out during the Blitz:

London after the War was a marvellous landscape with precipice and mountains and crags, full of drama… and it seemed mad to waste the opportunity and not to take notice of the fact that there were these marvellous images… all around one”.

There was, Auerbach says, “a sense of survivors scurrying among a ruined city… and a sort of curious freedom… I remember a feeling of camaraderie among the people in the street”. For Auerbach, the sense of survival must have seemed particularly profound. He had been sent to England from his home city, Berlin, shortly before his eighth birthday and the outbreak of war. Both of his Jewish parents were killed in the concentration camps and Auerbach made London his new home. (from the Courtauld Gallery bio)

This painting was his first, painted when he was only 21 years old, entitled Summer Building Site (1952). Evidently he labored over some paintings so long that the buildings had been completed and opened for use by the time he finished his work.

He studied art at St. Martin's as well as the Royal College of Art in London. His later works include portraits of friends as well as cityscapes. He is still living and working in London at nearly 80 years old. Pretty inspiring, don't you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment