Cover image for Frank Auerbach
Frank Auerbach
Hughes, Robert, 1938-2012.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Thames and Hudson, [1990]

Physical Description:
240 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
With 174 illustrations in duotone and 80 in color.
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND497.A86 H84 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



The first full study of the artist's work, with 254 illustrations, 174 in duotone and 80 in colour. Auerbach himself selected the paintings for the book as representing the most important of his career. The author is a well-known writer, critic and television presenter and art critic of TTime' magazine. Previous books include TThe Shock of the New' and TThe Fatal Shore'. Also available in paperback.

Author Notes

Robert Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia on July 28, 1938. He studied art and architecture at the University of Sydney. He pursued art criticism mostly as a sideline while painting, writing poetry and serving as a cartoonist for the weekly intellectual journal The Observer. He left Australia and spent time in Italy before settling in London, where he became a well-known critical voice and wrote for several newspapers. He was chief art critic for Time magazine for over 30 years.

He wrote several books including The Fatal Shore, American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America, Things I Didn't Know, and Rome. He also hosted an eight-part documentary about the development of modernism from the Impressionists through Warhol entitled The Shock of the New. It was seen by more than 25 million viewers when it ran first on BBC and then on PBS. He also wrote a book by the same name about the series. He died after a long illness on August 6, 2012 at the age of 74.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Auerbach's portrait paintings, with their thick, overloaded surfaces, existentially searching figures and intimations of personal loss, went against the grain of the Hockney-ed '70s. Born in Germany in 1931 to a Berlin lawyer and a Lithuanian artist, both Jews, he was exiled to England at the age of eight. Orphaned by Hitler, this London-based artist summons, through his paintings, the family intimacy denied to him in boyhood. Highly structural landscapes of Camden Town capture ``a specific English character of chaos, dinginess and suggestiveness,'' as Time art critic Hughes observes in this impassioned, probing monograph. As Auerbach's gnomic portrait heads became caricatural, his landscapes turned toward impetuous, rapid notation. His most recent human figures convey battered dignity and fierce protest, a sense of mass in movement. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Born in Germany in 1931 and exiled to England at the age of eight, Auerbach creates thickly impastoed portraits of gnomic human caricatures that convey fierce pride, battered dignity, existential searching, and personal loss. His work of the past four decades is vividly reproduced here in 254 illustrations, including 80 color plates. The text, based on conversations and letters from 1986 to 1988, could profitably have been accompanied by a bibliography, exhibition list, and index, which are sorely missed. Nevertheless, Hughes, noted art critic for Time and author of The Shock of the New (Knopf, 1981), The Fatal Shore ( LJ 11/1/86), and Nothing If Not Critical ( LJ 9/1/90), has produced another winner.-- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Outstanding color plates of the artist's works from 1971 to 1989 make up nearly half of this monograph on expressionist painter Frank Helmut Auerbach. Hughes, articulate as always, presents convincing psychological insights into Auerbach's enduring affection for England where the German-born artist has lived since 1939, when his parents sent him to London to escape Hitler's pogroms. The author begins with early biographical notes and skillfully weaves the artist's mature life into detailed discussions of the paintings. Hughes struggles to free Auerbach's art from neoexpressionist labels by stressing the artist's ties to the old masters whose works he studies assiduously in London museums. Auerbach's canvases, consistent and insistent in their slashing line, thick impasto, and intense color, are compared and contrasted to specific works by Rembrandt and Franz Hals as well as to those by Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, whose stylistic descendent Auerbach appears to be. The artist's drawings receive critical attention and their relationship with his paintings is well elucidated. Hughes, however, stretches a bit thin in his efforts to give Auerbach's familiar vocabulary new significance. For upper-division undergraduates and above. -P. N. Holder, Austin Peay State University