(Berlin Born 1931)
Study of a Seated Female Nude
Signed Auerbach in green chalk at the lower left and dated March 1955 in charcoal at the lower left centre.
558 x 385 mm. (22 x 15 1/8 in.)
Drawn in March 1955, the present sheet depicts Estella (‘Stella’) West, posed for the artist for over twenty years. ‘E.O.W.’, as she is invariably titled in his paintings, was the artist’s principal model at the beginning of his mature career. Fifteen years older than Auerbach, she became his lover, and posed for him continuously until 1973, when their relationship ended. A closely-related drawing, of the same date and dimensions, is in a private collection (Catherine Lampert, Frank Auerbach: Speaking and Painting, London, 2015, illustrated p.43).
The film director Clive Donner (1926-2010) was a lifelong friend of Frank Auerbach, and acquired the present sheet from the artist soon after it was drawn. This drawing remained in Donner’s collection, little known to scholars, for over fifty years, until his death in 2010.