In Review

Frank Auerbach Tate Britain – reviews of 'insightful' show

Lucian Freud's collection of his friend Auerbach's work is 'a significant national inheritance'

What you need to know

An exhibition of paintings and drawings by renowned British artist Frank Auerbach has opened at Tate Britain. The show presents the private collection once owned by Auerbach's friend and fellow artist Lucian Freud, which has been offered to Britain's public galleries in lieu of inheritance tax.

It is considered the most significant private collection of Auerbach work, spanning his career from the 1940s until 2007 and includes landscapes of London, portraits and birthday cards marking his friendship with Freud. The works will be distributed to public galleries throughout Britain after the show. Runs until 9 November.

What the critics like 

Auerbach is a great figurative painter who has "spent a lifetime digging deep in concentration on a few familiar motifs", says Jackie Wullschlager in the Financial Times. And from his early series depicting London's postwar reconstruction, to the luminous Mornington Crescent – Summer Morning, his landscapes are about painterly construction and art's power to arrest time.

"This show celebrates a significant national inheritance" – Freud's insightful collection of his friend, Auerbach's, art, says Jonathan Jones in The Guardian. Auerbach is an outstanding British artist, who like Hogarth before him paints the dangers and the victims of city life  –  his London is so real it hurts.

He is "one of the greatest British painters post-war up to the present," says curator Elena Crippa in the Evening Standard. And a good reason to visit this exhibition is that his work is so tactile it doesn't reproduce in print.

What they don't like 

Really Auerbach's art should be permanently housed and the Tate Britain, instead of being scattered around public galleries after this show, says Jonathan Jones in The Guardian. Auerbach's reputation "really needs securing for the ages – and only the Tate has the global power to do that".       ​

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