Frank Auerbach at the Tate Britain

To Mornington Cresent

Frank Auerbach was born in 1931 Germany and sent to Britain by his parents to escape the Nazi regime that had established itself and remained becoming a British citizen as many other people had done in this period. It is said he is not a German expressionist painter although one might think that he was influenced by it. He is not interested in the spiritual or emotion of expressionism.

One has to remember that Post war Britain like many countries was a difficult period and many young artists were looking to find something different in art to move away from what had been the focus. It was time for a new way of thinking that would move forward and be more positive post modernist in its projection, less ideologically driven although the utopian idea was very much alive in the 50’s, 60’s the move away from this had already begun.

Chaotic blends where the figure is lost in his brush strokes of paint that is very thick. The colours mingle into each other some of them becoming muddy. The thick colours are using a wet into wet paint and almost look like they are still drying some times. The colours also seem tonally adapted to a particular pallet of colour that he works with and he does not seem to steer too much away from this. The thickness of the paint simplifies but also removes linear detail making a textured picture plane.

His subject matter is figurative and of general city locations around places where he lives. Mornington Crescent seems to be of interest and the head in a reclined position of a select group of people in the show at the Tate Britain. Previously I have viewed only a few pieces of his art work so to see a large selection of his work puts a kind of context into his art and the person behind it. His art is approachable but not necessarily something everybody will like, but that is the nature of art and peoples interests all being very different. The show is on until mid March next year so there is plenty of time to visit.

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