Park Village East is a street near Regent’s Park, close to the artist’s studio in London. With the exception of the human figure, the inner suburbs of north London have provided Frank Auerbach with perhaps his most important and enduring subject. Between 1994 and 1999 Auerbach produced a series of paintings of Park Village East, capturing the street at different times of the year. Auerbach begins a landscape by making numerous sketches in the chosen location. Six pencil and ink sketches for 'Park Village East, Winter' were retained by the artist and were also acquired by the Museum. Auerbach uses the sketches as guides to paint the final work in the studio. A process of painting and scraping down is followed by an intense period of work to realise the final composition. A painting is finished when Auerbach achieves what he describes as a ‘reinvention of the physical world’. The energy and immediacy of the sketches for 'Park Village East, Winter' has been transferred to the final painting. The thick impasto – a characteristic of Auerbach’s surfaces – gives the painting an almost sculptural presence. Auerbach is one of the most important figurative painters working today. Together with Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Leon Kossoff he is often grouped under the label ‘School of London’. What unites this grouping has been a strong commitment to figurative painting set against a wider shift towards pop, abstraction and conceptual art. Indeed Auerbach’s knowledge and commitment to the traditions of painting are central to his practice. In 'Park Village East, Winter' he openly acknowledges the composition of John Constable’s 'The Hay Wain' (National Gallery, London).
Where to see this painting?
National Museum Wales, National Museum Cardiff
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