Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Sweet F. A.


H.I. has just been sent a postcard (from The Tate) with a photo of a young Frank Auerbach standing in his studio with a cigarette in his hand (not this one).

This picture must have been taken a couple of years before he taught her in The Slade, and Auerbach looks very much as her ex husband did at that time - or the other way round. They are strikingly similar, in fact, but have aged in completely different ways.

The first time I met F.A. it was at a private view of one of his shows in London, and I had just bought my first pair of Crockett and Jones boots. When we eventually got through the tight circle of people waiting for a private audience, he chatted away to H.I. and I have to say that I was still in the first throes of a lasting love affair with the boots, so spent most of the time looking at my feet. He probably mistook this for shyness - or at least I hope he did. He is a charming and polite man who, if he has nothing good to say about someone, says nothing at all.

A few years ago, he gave H.I. a present of two preparatory drawings for the painting of Primrose Hill which now hangs in The Tate, along with a covering letter saying that these drawings are better than any that The Tate has in its permanent collection. When you really know what you are talking about, it is quite acceptable to make this sort of claim without any hint of arrogance.

Now I have to admit to the unworthy deed of trying to find the value of these drawings by consulting previous sales catalogues, etc. plus estimating on how his death would affect their sales price.

Whatever it is, the act of selling would probably  diminish their true value - not their worth - while we are all still alive.

15 comments:

  1. My tutor once told me to stick a patch over a part of a very large drawing that was distressing me and re-draw it. He said that's what Frank A would do. If it was good enough for FA it was good enough for me. I adopted this practice forthwith. I would love a FA drawing on my wall. H.I. is v lucky to have them.

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  2. And what a sweet post, TS. I love the bit about you lovingly looking down at your new boots.

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    1. I had to stop myself from blurting, "Hey Frank - look at my new shoes. Aren't they wonderful?"

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  3. Do love the fact that you were in love with your new boots Tom!
    I have one or two paintings - not quite in the same class, but by fairly famous folk - and I really wonder what they are worth. On the other hand I have no wish to sell them, I get too much pleasure from them.

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    1. That's it, Weave. I've never really been one for art on walls, but I like it when I see it - usually.

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  4. I'm just sitting here thinking what an interesting life Tom has had (and continues to have).

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    1. I only tell you either the interesting bits, or the boring bits. There's years of mediocrity in between.

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  5. H.I. is indeed fortunate to have been taught by Frank Auerbach and to have been given those drawings by him, and to have gone to the Slade...and to have met you.

    I am fortunate to have seen many Auerbach exhibits over the years, and sorry to have missed seeing the recent Tate show.

    Over the past months, I read the Pat Barker trilogy that features Slade students and WW I.

    I like that drawing tip Rachel has shared. It's good to think of something in a new way.

    Best wishes.

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    1. I hope she feels the same way - I'm sure she does, and it is reciprocal.

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  6. You cannot violate FA's gift by selling it. Had you ever needed to keep a roof above or food on the table, possibly. Not when you are sure of the roof and the food, and certainly not by someone who wears Crockett and Jones boots.

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    1. Don't worry, I was just thinking about extreme old age, when I cannot afford to have the C & Js repaired and the roof leaks. I knew I shouldn't have admitted it.

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  7. The provenance is everything in its value, which will be higher because of it.

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    1. I'm not allowed to think about it in public - see above.

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