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[Perspectives] Frank Auerbach: sudden, fugitive revelations

All day, every day of the year, for more than 60 years, Frank Auerbach has worked in his Camden Town studio, on a portrait from life or on a landscape done from plein-air sketches. He always selects the same subjects—one of a handful of models, sitting in the same chair, or a familiar view of the dishevelled patch of London he rarely leaves. His methods and objectives are inflexible. He sloshes out paint onto a bench before launching it towards a blank canvas. Manipulating the oils vigorously, with brush, thoughts, and fingers, he strives to express, rather than to describe, the “substance” of his subject—its ever-changing appearance combined with his imaginative impression of it.