The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, October 26, 2014


The Courtauld Opens Exhibition Exploring Post-War London Building Sites
Frank Auerbach (born 1931), Rebuilding the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, 1962. Oil on board, 152.5 x 152.5 cm. Private collection.
LONDON.- This exhibition explores an extraordinary group of paintings of post-war London building sites by Frank Auerbach (born 1931), one of Britain ’s greatest living artists. The series of fourteen major paintings was produced during the first decade of Auerbach’s career and gives a remarkable account of his early artistic development. It was during this period that Auerbach emerged alongside Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud as part of a powerful new generation of British painters. Frank Auerbach: London Building Sites, 1952-62, on view at The Courtauld Gallery from October 16, 2009 to January 19, 2010, will give the first comprehensive account of these works, which are among the most profound responses made by any artist to the post-war urban landscape.

Auerbach’s years as a young art student in London , from 1947 to 1952, were spent in a city deeply scarred by the aftermath of the Second World War and at the beginning of a long period of recovery and rebuilding. The Blitz had leveled whole areas of London and left numerous buildings severely damaged or destroyed. This wounded landscape was punctuated by remarkable survivals, most famously St Paul ’s Cathedral standing defiantly among the ruins. Another spectacular sight was the rebuilding effort which saw armies of workmen clearing the debris and excavating new foundations. Ubiquitous symbols of the rebuilding were the tower cranes which sprang up across the city in advance of the new steel-framed offices and blocks of flats which were to transform London ’s urban landscape. For Auerbach, hungry to prove himself as a modern painter, the building sites of London made the most compelling of contemporary subjects. As he recalled recently, “ London after the War was a marvelous landscape with precipice and mountains and crags, full of drama… and it seemed mad to waste the opportunity and not to take notice of the fact that there were these marvelous images… all around one”.

Towards the end of his studies at various London art schools including, most importantly, David Bomberg’s inspirational teaching at the Borough Polytechnic, Auerbach began voraciously sketching the city’s building sites, as did his close friend and fellow student, Leon Kossoff. There was, Auerbach says, “a sense of survivors scurrying among a ruined city… and a sort of curious freedom… I remember a feeling of camaraderie among the people in the street”. For Auerbach, the sense of survival must have seemed particularly profound. He had been sent to England from his home city, Berlin , shortly before his eighth birthday and the outbreak of war. Both of his Jewish parents were killed in the concentration camps and Auerbach made London his new home. He combed the city, filling his sketchbooks with details of particular sites, capturing the activities of workmen and machinery as they reshaped London ’s bombsites into new structures. He recalls how he would enter a site “by inching along the planks, out over the excavation, just clinging on and dodging the wheelbarrows”. It was the early stages of a construction site that most excited Auerbach, before the building had fully emerged from the ground and there was still a sense of struggle between the formlessness of the raw earth being excavated and the beginnings of architectural order.

Two exceptionally powerful paintings, Maples Demolition, 1960, and Rebuilding the Empire Cinema, 1962, mark the end of Auerbach’s building site series. The works’ palettes of strong yellows and reds contrast with his earlier paintings in the group which were painted in earth tones, as they were the only colors he could afford in the large quantities he required. These two paintings epitomize how Auerbach vividly translates chasms of mud and shored-up earth, cranes, scaffolding and the workmen of the building sites into paintings which capture a powerful sense of the destruction and reconstruction inherent in the redevelopment of London ’s bomb sites. His heavily worked, thick surfaces express the material character of the sites; a painted equivalent of the mountains of earth and rubble being excavated and reshaped across the city. His own labors with paint over many months approached the timescale of the buildings themselves. In certain cases the buildings had been erected and opened by the time Auerbach had completed his paintings of their foundations.

The exhibition will bring together Auerbach’s building site paintings, drawing on public and private collections nationally and internationally. It will also display a selection of Auerbach’s few surviving pencil sketches (most of which he destroyed) together with oil studies to reveal the artist’s complex creative process. Research for the exhibition has been greatly enriched by interviews conducted with the artist especially for this project.

The Courtauld Gallery | Frank Auerbach | London Building Sites | British Painters |




Today's News

October 16, 2009

Leopold Museum Explores Love, Fear and Death in Edvard Munch's Work

Berlin's Neues Museum will be Inaugurated Friday by German Chancellor

Christie's to Auction Restituted Painting by Camille Pissarro in November

Frieze Art Fair: Stand Prize Winner Announced, Tate Acquires New Work

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gives Major Gift to Smithsonian Museum

Swiss Curator Tops Art Power List, Damien Hirst Slumps

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum to Host Susan Rothenberg Exhibition

A New Wave of Vauxhall Collective Commissions are Announced

Monumental Sculptures by Red Grooms on View at Marlborough Chelsea

Donald Kaufman, K-B Toys Co-Founder, Revered Antique Toy Collector Dies

The Courtauld Opens Exhibition Exploring Post-War London Building Sites

Seattle Art Museum is the Only U.S. Venue for Michelangelo Drawings from Florence

Internationally Renowned Australian Artist Ricky Swallow Exhibits in Australia

Exhibition Presents Variety of Fresh Perspectives on the Irish Museum of Modern Art

High will Premiere New Exhibition of Digital Portraits by Photographer Robert Weingarten

SMU's Meadows School of the Arts Announces Recipients of Inaugural Meadows Prize

Young Tate Presents a Halloween Homage to Destruction at Tate Liverpool

Experts Find Rare Crusader-Era Murals in Syria

British Sculptor Involved in Tragic Accident Dies

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome

Related Stories



Francis Bacon Painting Shown Alongside Artist's Favorite Work

The Courtauld Collects! 20 Years of Acquisitions Opens Today



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site