Frank Auerbach

A major retrospective of the celebrated British artist, featuring around 70 paintings and drawings from the 1950s to the present day.

Frank Auerbach is considered to be one of the world's greatest living artists, creating dynamic, thickly layered canvases that are scraped and reworked to produce astounding paintings that are more akin to sculpture. The depth and texture of his work is permeated by a raw, almost pained energy that has often been attributed to the artist's distressing childhood. He was born in Berlin and fled to Britain in order to escape Nazi persecution, but his parents remained and died in concentration camps.

In celebration of his 84th birthday this exhibition presents around 70 paintings and drawings from throughout his career, most of which were created in the same London studio that he has occupied since 1954 – where he continues to paint 364 days a year. The curator of this exhibition, Catherine Lampert, has sat for the artist every week for 37 years. This longstanding relationship offers a rare insight into the connection between artist and sitter, offering new thematic readings revealed over several decades.

The majority of works featured are from private collections and are rarely available for public display. It includes early portraits such as Head of Leon Kossoff, and landscapes such as Building Site, Earl's Court, Winter that depict the destruction of post-war London. 

Don't miss

Auerbach's most recent paintings of Mornington Crescent underline his close identification of the area directly surrounding his studio, such as The House II.

Samuel West reveals his interest in Auerbach and his connection with Hamlet in the autumn issue of Art Quarterly

Venue details

Tate Britain Millbank London SW1P 4RG 020 7887 8888

Entry details

£7.25 with National Art Pass (standard entry £14.50)

Daily, 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.15pm)
Closed 24 – 26 Dec

What the critics say


‘At his best Auerbach is without doubt our greatest living painter because he captures the soul, still alive and struggling, floundering like a trapped fly in the claggy surfaces of his paint’


'This brave new show reveals the delights and difficulties of being Auerbach'

Reviews (1)

  • Jose, London
  • 15 November 2015 - 12:09
  • Overrated