PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF RUTH AND JOSEPH BROMBERG SOLD TO BENEFIT THE PRINTS AND DRAWINGS DEPARTMENT OF THE ISRAEL MUSEUM, JERUSALEM
oil on canvas
A gift from the artist to Ruth and Jospeh Bromberg in 2008
Executed between 2007 and 2008, the present work is the very last portrait Frank Auerbach painted of Ruth Bromberg. In a letter dated March 2008, Ruth, with palpable regret, informed Auerbach of her need to resign as a sitter: "I know how important your sitters are to you and I would not wish to be the cause of disruption to your work schedule. I have always taken my sittings very seriously and with your best interests in mind, I am reluctant to take on a commitment that I might not be able to fulfil... My seventeen years as a sitter have been a source of the greatest pleasure and joy throughout... Thursday afternoons will never be the same again and I feel the loss" (Ruth Bromberg in a letter to Frank Auerbach, 20 March 2008). Significantly, Auerbach designated the present painting as a gift to the Brombergs when he first began work on it - herein providing the ultimate conclusion to Ruth's seventeen years as a sitter by joining the very first painting with the very last: "By some strange coincidence, both you first and last painting of me will be with me here in my home, as a constant source of pleasure along with all of your other great works" (Ibid.).
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