Frank Auerbach

Robert Hughes, Author
Robert Hughes, Author Thames & Hudson $45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-500-09211-8
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Auerbach's portrait paintings, with their thick, overloaded surfaces, existentially searching figures and intimations of personal loss, went against the grain of the Hockney-ed '70s. Born in Germany in 1931 to a Berlin lawyer and a Lithuanian artist, both Jews, he was exiled to England at the age of eight. Orphaned by Hitler, this London-based artist summons, through his paintings, the family intimacy denied to him in boyhood. Highly structural landscapes of Camden Town capture ``a specific English character of chaos, dinginess and suggestiveness,'' as Time art critic Hughes observes in this impassioned, probing monograph. As Auerbach's gnomic portrait heads became caricatural, his landscapes turned toward impetuous, rapid notation. His most recent human figures convey battered dignity and fierce protest, a sense of mass in movement. (Sept.)
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