The South Bank Show Originals

Frank Auerbach

Series 6 - Episode 1 Frank Auerbach



This short retrospective featuring the London-based painter Frank Auerbach dates back to the first series of The South Bank Show, in 1978. And although the desaturated quality of the 1970s film doesn’t do Auerbach’s highly textured paintings justice — it’s a bit like looking at the food in a 40-year-old cook book — his charcoals come across with an especially haunting quality.

Solemn and awkward in front of the camera, the young Auerbach’s subtle German accent somehow lends extra gravitas to his philosophies about art. “Painting is an intensely difficult problem, it’s almost incapable of solution,” he says. Critic Jonathan Jones provides contemporary commentary.


Melvyn Bragg revisits more old episodes of his arts programme, beginning by looking back at a profile of German-British artist Frank Auerbach from 1978.