Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads

Charcoal drawing of a man, Frank Auerbach, sitting slightly side-on to the viewer and staring at us with a stern expression. The background is roughly completed, and the face somewhat fragmented by the background. i Frank Auerbach (b.1931), Self-Portrait, 1958, charcoal and chalk on paper, private collection © the artist, courtesy of Frankie Rossi Art Projects, London

9 Feb – 27 May 2024 
Denise Coates Exhibition Galleries

A remarkable series of hauntingly beautiful, large-scale drawings by Frank Auerbach (born 1931), will be presented together for the first time at The Courtauld Gallery in Spring 2024.

During his early years as a young artist in post-war London, Frank Auerbach produced one of his most remarkable bodies of work: a series of large-scale portrait heads made in charcoal. Auerbach spent months on each drawing, working and reworking them during numerous sessions with his sitters.

The marks of this prolonged and vigorous process of creation are evident in the finished drawings, which are richly textured and layered. Sometimes, he would even break through the paper and patch it up before carrying on. Auerbach51ݶ heads emerge from the darkness of the charcoal as vital and alive, having come through a lengthy period of struggle – the image repeatedly created and destroyed. The character of the drawings speaks profoundly of their times as people were remaking their lives after the destructions and upending of war.

Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads will be the first time Auerbach51ݶ extraordinary post-war drawings, made in the 1950s and early 1960s, have been brought together as a comprehensive group. They will be shown together with a selection of paintings he made of the same sitters; for him, painting and drawing have always been deeply entwined.

The exhibition will be a unique opportunity to see early masterpieces by one of the world51ݶ most celebrated living artists.

Supported by the Huo Family Foundation and The Garcia Family Foundation.

Tickets from £14. Includes entry to the permanent collection and displays.
Friends go free. Other concessions available.

9 Feb – 27 May 2024

10.00 – 18.00 (last entry 17.15)

The Courtauld Gallery  The Denise Coates Exhibition Galleries 

Tickets from £14. Includes entry to the permanent collection.

The Courtauld Lates: Frank Auerbach

Fri 9 Feb 2024, 18:30 – 22:30

Enjoy an evening of world-class art, cocktails, music, and performances surrounded by The Courtauld51ݶ collection of masterpieces. Join us to experience Frank Auerbach – The Charcoal Heads after hours, plus live DJ’s and more.

i Somerset House exterior © Rory Lindsay

Join the art 51ݶ

Get free unlimited entry to The Courtauld Gallery and exhibitions including Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads, priority booking to selected events, advance notice of art history short courses, exclusive events, discounts and more.

Become a friend
Courtauld Friends logo

You might also like

A painting of the houses of parliament with a purple sky and orange sun

Exhibition, The Courtauld Gallery, What's On Highlights

Monet and London: Views of the Thames

27 Sep 2024 – 19 Jan 2025

An exhibition reuniting for the first time in 120 years an extraordinary group of Claude Monet51ݶ Impressionist paintings of London, depicting Charing Cross Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament....

A pen and ink drawing with coloured pencils of four figures standing in a setting with brown walls

Display, The Courtauld Gallery, What's On Highlights

Henry Moore: Shadows on the Wall

8 June – 22 Sep 2024 

This focused exhibition, a collaboration with Henry Moore Foundation, considers Henry Moore51ݶ (1898 – 1986) celebrated Shelter drawings as the point of departure for a new reading of the artist51ݶ fascination with images of the wall. ...

Two groups of men and boys on Southam Street, North Kensington, London. A young West Indian boy looks straight at the camera.

Exhibition, The Courtauld Gallery, What's On Highlights

Roger Mayne: Youth

14 June – 1 Sep 2024 

An exhibition of works by photographer Roger Mayne, bringing together his evocative documentary images of communities and neighbourhoods of 1950's inner London, alongside intimate images of his own family at home in Dorset in the 1970s....

drawing of a black woman wearing a blue dress

Exhibition, The Courtauld Gallery, What's on Highlights

Claudette Johnson: 51ݶ

29 Sept 2023 – 14 Jan 2024  | Tickets from £13. Includes entry to the permanent collection. Friends go free. Other concessions available.

A major exhibition of work by British artist Claudette Johnson (b.1959) will open at The Courtauld Gallery on 29 Sept 2023....

Citations