Self-Portrait 1922

AUERBACH, Arnold  [1898-1978]

Arnold Auerbach was a 20th century artist of the Modern British school. In the years between the wars his main focus was on sculpture, a field in which he received many architectural commissions for interior designs of new buildings with relief sculpture and mural decorations. In later years, as his health declined, he moved away from the more demanding medium of sculpture and concentrated on painting.

He was born in Liverpool on 2nd April 1898 the son of a furniture dealer, Jonas, and his wife Eva (née Levy – Arnold was a cousin of the entertainer and broadcaster Muriel Levy). Eva had been born in Poland, as had Auerbach’s grandfather, Salomon. Although born in Liverpool at the time of the 1901 census the family were living in Willesden, London. By 1911 they were settled in some style at 165 Bedford Street L7.

He attended evening classes at the Liverpool Institute before taking up study full-time at the Liverpool School of Art. During the First World War he served as a private in the Royal Army Service Corps, being invalided out of the army in 1918. For the first few years after the war he returned to Liverpool, working with the architect James Bramwell. He first exhibited in 1919 at the Maddox Street Gallery in Liverpool and from 1921 he contributed to the annual autumn ‘salons’ at the Walker Art Gallery. During this period he was living at 123 Mount Pleasant L3.

He moved to London in 1921 and it would be his home for the rest of his life. He had a studio in Adelaide Road, Hampstead and by 1923 was showing at the Royal Academy. During the 1920’s he worked on the interiors of many art deco buildings, though sadly few examples of his work survive. In 1927 he received a major commission for the reliefs for the palace of the Nawab of Rampur in India.

He took up his first teaching post during World War Two at Beckenham Art School, later working at Regent Street Polytechnic and Chelsea School of Art. He retired in 1964. In 1954 he married the Scottish artist Jean Campbell. He died in London on 12th September 1978.

165 Bedford Street L7

The Auerbach family home at the time of the 1911 census

123 Mount Pleasant L3

Arnold Auerbach lived here c.1920 before he moved to London.


There is a quite detailed biography and review of his work on the Elizabeth Harvey-Lee website.