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Frank Auerbach at The Courtauld Gallery

At The Courtauld Gallery, paintings and sculptural-lite works by Frank Auberbach, produced in the 1950s and 1960s, are being shown in this dedicated solo exhibition, The Charcoal Heads. While the title may seem a tad on the literal side, entering the space and coming quite literally face-to-face with the works show us why curators have chosen to keep it simple. Evoking a post-Second World War malaise (to put it lightly), the emotions and human impact of their historical moment are both utterly palpable. This is not a joyous, nor even an especially hopeful exhibition, but the combination of Auerbach's skill and the alembic elevation of despair, whether considered to be social or personal to the artist, is truly powerful. Frank Auerbach, Head of EOW, 1960. Charcoal and chalk on paper. The Whitworth, University of Manchester. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Frankie Rossi Art Projects, London. Autobiographical details are also hard to overlook: Auerbach was sent to London from Berlin

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