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Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Exhibition: Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads

Location

Courtauld Institute of Art,

Somerset House, Strand, London,
WC2R 0RN

Dates

This exhibition runs from Fri, 9th Feb 2024 to Mon, 27th May 2024.

Forthcoming dates:

Tue,
21st May 2024  
(10am - 6pm)
Wed,
22nd May 2024  
(10am - 6pm)
Thu,
23rd May 2024  
(10am - 6pm)
Fri,
24th May 2024  
(10am - 6pm)
Sat,
25th May 2024  
(10am - 6pm)
Sun,
26th May 2024  
(10am - 6pm)
Mon,
27th May 2024  
(10am - 6pm)  <– Last Day!

Cost: £14

Description

A group of hauntingly beautiful, large-scale portrait heads in charcoal by Frank Auerbach - considered some of his early masterpieces – are being presented together for the first time.

Produced in the 1950s and 1960s during his early years in post-war London, this series of monumental charcoal heads reveal the significance of drawing to the development of Auerbach’s practice as he found his voice as a young artist.

Auerbach created a new way of drawing that pushed the medium beyond conventional limits, and he considered these drawings to be of equal status to his paintings. The qualities and possibilities of charcoal allowed him to make works that offer us experiences – by turns unsettling and beautiful – of what it feels like to comprehend deeply the unique presence of another person.

This series of charcoal heads emerged over numerous sessions with a small handful of sitters who were important people in Auerbach’s life who modelled for him over long periods. Auerbach spent months on each drawing, working, erasing and reworking them completely, sometimes breaking through the paper before patching it up and carrying on. The scars of this intense and vigorous process are evident in the finished portraits, which are richly textured and layered, emerging from the darkness of the charcoal as vital and alive after an embattled process of creation. The drawings connect us to the tenor of their times as lives were rebuilt, and London slowly recovered following the destruction and upending of the Second World War. The drawings express the fragility of life but also how remarkable it is to experience the vitality of a human presence.

As Auerbach later put it: “I feel there is no grander entity than the individual human being… I would like my work to stand for individual experience.”


Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

Reserve tickets at this website

Disclaimer

The information and prices in this listing are presumed to be correct at the time of publishing, but please always check with the venue before making a special trip.

All images are supplied by the exhibition organiser.

This exhibition runs from Fri, 9th Feb 2024 to Mon, 27th May 2024

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

May 2024

Location

Courtauld Institute of Art,

Somerset House, Strand, London,
WC2R 0RN

Map
Map