Frank Auerbach

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        This interview was conducted by the writer Richard Booth exclusively for Lenin Imports in 1998.

        The main objective behind this interview is to discover and highlight the working patterns of Auerbach and what inspires him in his work.

        Frank Auerbach has been one of the most celebrated British based artists of the last 30 years or so. We were intrigued to find out more about how he worked and what inspired him. As he rarely grants interviews we are grateful that he allowed Richard to interview him on this occasion.

        Frank Auerbach's work can be viewed at The Tate Gallery in London.

        His work is represented by Marlborough Fine Arts in London.

      • Frank Auerbach - Exhibition Catalogues


        Frank Auerbach Interview
        3rd December 1998

        Frank Auerbach OUESTION: Who or what was your main influence in the early part of your painting career?

        FRANK AUERBACH: I think that the very earliest influence was a horror of having to work in a bank or an office, a desire for a free and creative life. The writings of - for instance; William Blake, John Cooper Powys and Joyce Cary. This has finally resulted in my working every day in a rigid but self-imposed schedule. Then, at school, random influences, for instance, Paul Klee, Edward Burra, Viaminer, artists who I found it possible to imitate. Later, first Picasso, then Rembrandt and virtually the whole of art history.

        Q: Is this influence still an important aspect of your current work?

        FA: The last influence is, of course, still operative. I do not have fixed opinions, just reactions, but I am susceptible to the influence of all the great artists known to everybody and some less popular figures, like Albert Pinkham Ryder, Gerald Wilde, Antonin Artaud and others too numerous to list.

        Frank Auerbach EOWQ: What part of the day do you feel you are at your most creative?

        FA: On the whole the morning and the evening; afternoons are often not so good.

        Q: Which painters or paintings, past or present, do you most admire?

        FA: This has really been answered - the list would be too long to remember. Rembrandt, Constable, Turner, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Velasquez, Whistler, Giacometti, Matisse, Leger, Rodin, Michelangelo, Picasso, Mexican and Japanese sculpture, Hogarth, Daumier, Cezanne, Seurat, De Kooning - everybody you can think of.

        Q: Do you feel working alone helps you concentrate more on your works, or do you prefer people to be around you ?

        FA: I never work with an audience, I can't do this. The process depends on the highest degree of nervous concentration. But I have models seven times a week and they are, of course, present when I work.

        Q: How do you begin a painting. Do you plan work in the form of sketches, series of paintings or just begin work directly on the canvas?

        Frank Auerbach JuliaFA: I do not have a rigid method. But I tend to do drawings before starting a landscape and then many more as I proceed. I tend to start directly on to the canvas when working from a model, but there are many changes.

        Q: Which particular work do you feel represents you the best?

        FA: I am not a great connoisseur of my own work , but I think drawings are more revelatory than paintings and it might be one of my better drawings.

        Q: Do you find yourself continually going back to a certain subject matter ?

        FA: Yes I do, but it is not a question of "going back", I feel that I am going forward.

        Q: Do you ever destroy any of your work or finish a painting and think that it's not right and rework that piece?

        FA: I destroy things every day in the act of working and often recall a picture I had considered finished in order to rework it. I wish that I had done so more often.

        Q: Are you very self-critical of your own work or do you find yourself comfortable with what you achieve ?

        FA: I am profoundly uncomfortable with what I have, as you put it "achieved".

        Lucien Freud's Frank Auerbach PaintingQ: What has influenced your current work?

        FA: In addition to the artistic influences, I am influenced by my current private life, my feelings about it and my energy level and state of health.

        Mr. Frank Auerbach, Thank you for your time and co-operation.

        richard booth for lenin imports


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