The earliest portrait images are immediately striking because of their sheer weight of paint, built up over many sessions (the 1955 Head of E.O.W. (Private Collection) was the result of almost three hundred sittings), but the present painting belongs to a group of works which marked a shift in Auerbach's manner of execution. Characterised by the use of a thick jagged black outline to delineate the head and features, the portraits of the late 1960s and early 1970s take on a stark, almost caricatured quality that isolates the distinctive features of each sitter. Auerbach's friend, Paula Eyles, has sat many times for Auerbach and is one of the few sitters whose image is thus available to us from across the artist's career. However, despite the wide varieties in handling, the consistency of the image of this sitter is quite remarkable, her distinctive features and character coming through each painting.
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