Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
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.