The Ruth and Joseph Bromberg bequest of works by Frank Auerbach

1 December 2013 – 8 January 2014


Recommend this exhibition

Ruth and Joseph Bromberg were a remarkable couple who amassed an enviable art collection, particularly of work by Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud. Displayed here is a selection from over 80 works on paper by Frank Auerbach from the Bromberg bequest.

Ruth Bromberg was a distinguished print scholar who produced two catalogues on the prints of Canaletto and Sickert. Much of her research took place in the Study Room of the British Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings.

When Auerbach accepted a commission to paint her portrait in 1991, Ruth became part of an exclusive group of sitters whom the Berlin-born artist paints and draws obsessively. As a result of their friendship, the couple were able to collect a group of Auerbach’s works that range from his rare early print studies of nudes from the 1950s to etchings of fellow artists from the School of London, Leon Kossoff, R B Kitaj and Lucian Freud. Some of the prints demonstrate Auerbach’s experimental use of multiple plates resulting in a delicate tracery of lines in black and in gold or silver. Also included in the display are some of the many vibrant and intense drawing studies for paintings of the urban landscape close to his studio in Camden Town in north London. As with his portraits, Auerbach returns to the same landmarks, such as the chimney of a former cigarette factory or a particular tree in the vicinity of his studio. These recurring motifs are subject to the artist’s rigorous attention, as he often makes hundreds of studies of the same subject.

More of Auerbach’s graphic works are accessible in the Study Room, access to which is via the door behind the door of the Michelangelo cartoon in Room 90.

Frank Auerbach, Ruth, 2006, etching, aquatint and engraving.

Frank Auerbach, Ruth, 2006, etching, aquatint and engraving. © Frank Auerbach (courtesy Marlborough Fine Art).