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Auerbach portrait painting
Auerbach portrait painting

Frank Auerbach, Portrait of William Feaver, 2007, Oil on canvas. Private collection. 

© Frank Auerbach; Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art, London and Luhring Augustine, New York.

“Frank Auerbach: Selected Works, 1978–2016” at Luhring Augustine Chelsea (through February 20, 2021): Frank Auerbach once mused that “a good painting always seems a bit of a miracle.” After taking a long look at the selection of Auerbach’s work now on at Luhring Augustine in Chelsea, I hope you can forgive me for channeling Al Michaels in an art review: “Do you believe in miracles? YES!” In what the gallery bills as the largest exhibition of Auerbach’s work in New York since 2006, we find stunning portraits and landscapes from the British painter (born in Germany in 1931) spanning nearly four decades. There’s something essential and strange about seeing so many of these seemingly chance-ridden paintings—with their wild and thick impastos that duck, dip, and dive into palpably sculptural reliefs—in a single room. Sure, not every last painting comes off, but the overall effect is something like repeated strikes of lightning. On November 15 and 16, the gallery will be hosting an online screening of Frank, a 2016 documentary made by the artist’s son, Jake Auerbach.

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