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Frank Auerbach

Speaking and Painting

Catherine Lampert


An intimate look at the life and work of one of Europe’s leading painters, by a contemporary art expert who has sat for him for over 35 years

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In the course of a career covering more than sixty years, Auerbach has established a still growing international reputation for his paintings with their vigorous, precise brushwork. He is also respected as one of modern and contemporary art’s clearest thinkers.

Catherine Lampert has had unique access to the artist since 1978, when she first became one of his sitters. With an emphasis on Auerbach ‘speaking’, drawn from her conversations with him and from published and archival interviews, she gives a rare insight into his professional life, working methods and philosophy.

Auerbach also reflects on the places, people and experiences that have shaped his life. These include arriving in Britain as a nearly-8-year-old refugee from Nazi Germany in 1939, finding his way in the London art world of the 1950s and 1960s, his friendships with Leon Kossoff, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, among others, and his approaches to painting.

The text is complemented by illustrations of Auerbach’s paintings and drawings as well as by images from the studio and personal photographs that have never been published before.

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'One of the truest books on painters and paintings I have ever read'
Daily Telegraph

'A gripping, sensitive portrait, close to biography but brighter and livelier than straightforward narrative in conveying the rhythms of Auerbach’s paintings, life and thought'
Financial Times (Art Books of the Year)

'A beautiful object, full of superb reproductions and photos … a terrific read … it only leaves you longing for more'

'Reading this book subtly raises one’s awareness of his imagery, sharpening one’s excitement at the prospect of seeing the whole trajectory of his art'
Literary Review

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Further Details


Format: Hardback

Size: 22.9 x 15.2 cm

Extent: 240 pp

Illustrations: 100

Publication date: 25 May 2015

ISBN: 9780500239254

Contents List

Preface • 1. Finding a Home in England • 2. Forging a Reputation • 3. ‘Painting is My Form of Action’ • 4. The Best Game • 5. Idiom and Subject • Conclusion

About the Author

Catherine Lampert, former director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1988–2001), has edited and contributed to numerous catalogues and books on contemporary artists over the years. She is now Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts, London.