Author(s): Catherine Lampert
Born in Berlin in 1931 to Jewish parents, the eight-year-old Auerbach was sent to England in 1939 to escape the Nazi regime. His parents stayed behind and died in a concentration camp in 1943. Now in his eighties, Auerbach is still producing his distinctly sculptural paintings of friends, family and surroundings in north London, where he has made his home since the war. The art historian and curator Catherine Lampert has had unique access to the artist since 1978 when she first became one of his sitters. With an emphasis on Auerbachs own words, culled from her conversations with him and archival interviews, she provides a rare insight into his professional life, working methods and philosophy. Auerbach also reflects on the places, people and inspirations that have shaped his life. These include his experiences as a refugee child, finding his way in the London art world of the 1950s and 1960s, his friendships with Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Leon Kossoff, among many others, and his approaches to looking and painting throughout his career. For anyone interested in how an artist approaches his craft or his method of capturing reality this is essential reading.