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PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Frank Auerbach
J.Y.M. IN THE STUDIO II
ACCÉDER AU LOT
15

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Frank Auerbach
J.Y.M. IN THE STUDIO II
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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Londres

Frank Auerbach
B. 1931
J.Y.M. IN THE STUDIO II
oil on double board
73.7 by 52.1cm.
29 by 20 1/2 in.
Executed in 1963-64.
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Provenance

Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London
Waddington Galleries, Ltd., London
Private Collection, London
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

Exposition

London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Frank Auerbach, 1965, no. 2 (with incorrect dimensions)
Zurich, Marlborough Galerie AG, Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings, 1954-1976, 1976, no. 8
London, Hayward Gallery; Edinburgh, Fruitmarket Gallery, Frank Auerbach, Retrospective Exhibition, 1978, p. 87, no. 61, illustrated

Bibliographie

William Feaver, Frank Auerbach, New York 2009, p. 257, no. 173, illustrated in colour

Description

"The person you're involved with most, say, is the most complicated to capture because you can't do a superficial likeness, you can't do a portrait painter's impression. You want something that measures up to the amount of feeling you have there." (The artist cited in: William Feaver, Frank Auerbach, New York 2009, p.19)  

 

Dramatically articulated in vibrant primaries of crimson, yellow and blue, Frank Auerbach's J.Y.M. In the Studio is a striking exposition of the painter's wholly inimitable, physically immediate and psychologically urgent figure painting. Executed between 1963-64, this work forcefully asserts an enthusiastic and unbridled treatment of colour uncommon to Auerbach's early career. The ochres and greys that predominate prior to 1962 are herein usurped by a prevailing manipulation of vivid pigment.  Indeed, this work encapsulates the consolidation of the artist's success and reputation during the early 1960s.  Emerging shortly after an agreement made with the Beaux Arts Gallery that secured the acquisition of all Auerbach's paintings, J.Y.M. In the Studio announces a heightened sense of artistic confidence, to which the energetic and direct use of more luxuriant pigment is tantamount. Closely comparable to another work of the same subject painted at the same time now belonging to the Arts Council Collection, the present work evidences the advancement of an immensely significant alliance between the artist and his longest standing model, Juliet Yardley Mills. A navigation of the brilliant colour and seismic painterly terrain of J.Y.M. In the Studio conjures a remarkably atmospheric evocation of physical presence; at once the bodily portrait and the paint landscape coincide, breaching the boundaries between figuration and the abstract.

 

Painted across two boards, a practice of extending the composition analogous to that which was employed by his close friend Lucian Freud, J.Y.M. In the Studio broadcasts an intense schema of compositional overload. According to the regimented routine of Auerbach's working method, poses and vantage points differ only slightly from subject to subject. In the case of the present painting, congruent works affirm the delineation of figure versus background here buried under an avalanche of worked and re-worked paint material executed over the course of an entire year. Seated on the habitually recurrent wing-backed chair familiar throughout Auerbach's oeuvre, a delineation of J.Y.M. extends the length of the board, concentrated to the right of the pictorial surface. Predominantly articulated through swathes of opulent crimson, a slanted head and crossed legs are manifest through a scrutiny of thickly-impastoed chromatic description. The substitution of monochrome earth-tones with these saturated hues effects a heightened complexity of pictorial cognition that, combined with a markedly laboured sculptural surface, posit J.Y.M. In the Studio as one of the most complex and visually exciting of Auerbach's illustrious career. 

 

Notably prominent in the present work via the intensity of colour and heightened integration of figure and background, is the admiration Auerbach regarded for the abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning, whose Women he had been hugely impressed with at the 1958 Tate exhibition of the Abstract Expressionist's work. Like de Kooning, Auerbach's representation of the individual female subject elicits a digression from a recreation of visual likeness. As Norman Rosenthal has outlined: "like de Koonings Women, Auerbach's are almost unrecognisable to us as individuals and suggest that the intimate emotional involvement with his sitters somehow makes them less rather than more recognisable; private and abstracted...the senses they convey include everything except precise visual reality" (Norman Rosenthal, 'Auerbach and His History', in: Exhibition Catalogue, London, Royal Academy, Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings 1954-2001, 2001, p.15). 

 

Akin to Francis Bacon, Auerbach infamously depicts only subjects with whom he is extremely familiar: social intimacy affording an expressive freedom emancipated from the hesitancy of unfamiliarity. Depicted here, Juliet Yardley Mills represents the cornerstone of the artist's canon. A relationship instigated and sustained out of reverence and enthusiasm for his work, J.Y.M. first came to sit for Auerbach after meeting him at Sidcup College of Art in 1956.  A routine she would continue every Wednesday and Sunday until the age of 80 in 1997, J.Y.M. truly relished sitting for Auerbach, even in the most awkward of poses: "I had my hands up over my head. I did that for hours. And I was so happy. You see I had this terrific excitement when I was going. I loved getting up at 5. And I tore down those dark streets. I didn't bother with any of that" (Juliet Yardley Mills cited in: Catherine Lampert, 'Auerbach and His Sitters' in: Ibid., p. 26). Through brilliant colour and a faultless exhibition of charismatic painterly gesture, this portrait carries a terrific psychological and emotional charge and summates Catherine Lampert's observation that J.Y.M. was a "force of nature" (Ibid.).

 

Charting the very beginning of this seminally important thirty-year exchange, J.Y.M. In the Studio is a remarkable visual essay on the homogenisation of the metamorphic topography of paint as the trace of atmosphere, familiarity, and physical presence – in the words of Catherine Lampert – "as if the picture could stand up and walk away" (Catherine Lampert, 'Frank Auerbach' in: Exhibition Catalogue, British Pavallion, XLII Venice Biennale, Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings 1977-1985, 1986, p.8).

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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Londres