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Portrait of an Artist

Frank Auerbach
by Frank Auerbach
NPG 6611

Past display archive
From December 2007

Room 40


On display in room 40 is a selection of recently acquired self-portraits of David Hockney, Tony Bevan, Ian Breakwell and Frank Auerbach and a portrait of the artist and filmmaker, Derek Jarman by Richard Hamilton.

Portraits of artists are well represented in the Gallery collection and artists are ready, and sometimes reluctant subjects. As a younger artist David Hockney was not minded to make many self-portraits but in recent years he has increasingly turned to them. Frank Auerbach prefers to paint others rather than himself and has described the difficulty he finds in 'chasing one's own shadow'. By contrast, Tony Bevan often makes self-portraits and his painting on display is one from a series he made in the late nineties.

The haunting image by Ian Breakwell is a memento mori, made in the knowledge that he was dying of cancer. The portrait of Derek Jarman is a fleeting image made by Richard Hamilton showing Jarman in motion against the backdrop of his own painting, a lasting memorial to another artist, made by Hamilton after Jarman's death.


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