Frank Auerbach
Rimbaud 1975–6

Artwork details

Frank Auerbach born 1931
Date 1975–6
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1079 x 1079 mm
frame: 1234 x 1234 x 83 mm
Acquisition Presented by the executors of the estate of David Wilkie 1993
Not on display

Display caption

This portrait of the nineteenth century French poet Rimbaud was the result of a commission from David Wilkie, a collector who owned a number of Auerbach's paintings. Auerbach was initially asked for a painting based on the sculpture 'Ecstasy of St Teresa' by the Renaissance master Bernini. Wilkie had seen this work (in the Cornaro chapel in the church of S. Maria Vittoria in Rome) during an army posting in Italy at the end of the Second World War. However, when Auerbach declined this commission, Wilkie instead asked for a portrait of Rimbaud, whose poetry he admired. Auerbach responded by transplanting a portrait of Rimbaud into the setting of the Cornaro chapel in place of the Bernini sculpture.

September 2004

About this artwork