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A Courtauld Gallery exhibition of the building site paintings of Frank Auerbach puts him on the frontline of European art

By Ben Lewis   November 2009

ABOVE: Frank Auerbach, Summer Building Site, 1952

They look like they are made from the materials of the subjects they depict—the construction sites amid the bombed-out ruins of London after the second world war. Some resemble the wall of a building, whose plaster has been blasted off, the remaining stone or concrete partially blackened by the force of an explosion and marked by the impact of shrapnel. Others seem to be carved out of the thick, wet mud of a rain-soaked derelict plot or excavation. Frank Auerbach’s paintings of London building sites are among the most important and powerful—but…

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