Lot 235
  • 235

Frank Auerbach

1,500 - 2,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Frank Auerbach
  • The Postman; The Artist in His Studio; Circus Performers; At the Gallery
  • one inscribed TO JYM, three inscribed FOR JYM
  •  black pen and felt-tip pen
  • each 11 by 16cm.; 4½ by 6¼in.


Given by the artist to JYM over a thirty year period and thence by descent to the present owner

Catalogue Note

Auerbach first met Joan Yardley Mills (JYM) in 1957 at Sidcup college of Art.  An artist herself, JYM went on to become Auerbach’s personal model for well over thirty years.  Sitting every Wednesday and Sunday without fail, for up to five hours at a time, she featured in many of his works throughout this period until her final appearance in Head of JYM III(1997, Private Collection) at the age of eighty.

The two formed a close attachment throughout this thirty year working relationship, which the current collection of works bears testament to.  Auerbach fondly decorated the envelopes of cards at Christmases and birthdays, as well as further events throughout the years, roughly sketching a charming array of elephants, typically personified and cast as characters in everyday scenes.  As well as representing the close personal relationship between Auerbach and his subject, the sketches also highlight the artist’s work in a spontaneous, humorous light.  The images, bright, lively and deeply personal, jump off the paper and bring to life the close relationship between an artist and the model that had spent hour up hour posing, week upon week, year after year, in difficult conditions in his North London studio, and the fondness that he felt towards her.

As JYM later described after her retirement from sitting “We had a wonderful relationship because I thought the world of his and he was very fond of me.  There was no sort of romance but we were very close.  Real friends.  Sundays now I’m always miserable.” (quoted in Catherine Lampert, Norman Rosenthal and Ian Carlisle, Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings 1954 – 2001, Royal Academy, London, 2001, pp.26-27).