* 1931 Berlin
The British artist Frank Auerbach was born at Berlin in 1931. His parents – the father was an attorney and his mother an art student – decided to send their then just eight years old son to England on his own in 1939. They wanted him to grow up with relatives, remote from the terrors of the National Socialists, to which both parents fell victim.
Frank Auerbach attended a Quaker school in England and was naturalized in 1947. In 1948 Frank Auerbach began to study art in London, initially at Borough Polytechnic, from 1948 to 1952 at St. Martin´s School of Art and from 1952 to 1955 at the Royal College of Art. Additionally, Frank Auerbach attended evening classes with David Bombergs between 1948 and 1953.
Soon after he had completed his studies, Frank Auerbach accepted first teaching posts and taught at various art schools (Ealing, Bromley and Camberwell) as well as at the London Slade School of Fine Art between 1956 and 1968 .
As a freelance artist, Frank Auerbach, who joined the "London Group" in 1960, predominantly executed oil paintings. His work always remained figurative, whereas he is particularly occupied with humans (portraits and full body figures). Additionally, city views are another issue of Frank Auerbach´s paintings.
Even though Frank Auerbach is inclined to literature, he refuses to render references thereto in his art. Instead his art is dominated by expressive material values, by pastose paint, applied by brush, painter´s knife or just by hand. Frank Auerbach´s personal style developed from rather strict compositions in tonal coloring to colorful and lively works, their expressiveness seems a bit more lyrically subdued lately. The expressive powers of paintings by Frank Auerbach is not, as one may assume, result of a merely impulsive painting process. The artist meticulously develops his works, correcting them over and over.
Frank Auerbach has also gained recognition for his hand drawings. His large sheets, executed in charcoal or chalk, are characterized by rich interior structures with intensive motion.
Frank Auerbach, who was awarded the silver medal by the Royal College of Art as early as in the mid 1950s, gained particular international fame in the 1980s. In 1986, the era of Neo-expressionism, he received, along with Sigmar Polke, the Golden Lion of the 42nd Venice Biennale.
The much celebrated artist, lately subject of a comprehensive monography (William Feaver: Frank Auerbach, New York 2009), lives and works in London.