Bruce Bernard: Artists and their Studios

25 October - 24 December 2003

"His best friends were artists, his favourite territory Soho. He was an important part of that now legendary period from the 1940s to the 1960s when painters such as Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach or Michael Andrews were part of the landscape.”
(taken from Bruce Bernard’s Obituary in The Times, March 2002)

Bruce Bernard’s photographs reveal a fascinating documentary insight to the working practices, artistic temperaments and personalities of his painter friends; Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Euan Uglow and Michael Andrews.

Many of his friendships and acquaintances with artists were made or cultivated in the bohemian environment of Soho’s pubs and clubs in the 1950s and 60s, when Freud, Bacon, Auerbach and Andrews could often be found drinking in an infamous drinking club called The Colony Room. Photographing them in their studios many years later, Bernard’s close familiarity with these artists allowed him to capture the often brooding, introspective character of the painters in the midst of their creations.

Bernard’s last portraits, of Euan Uglow and Frank Auerbach, were executed shortly before his death in 2000, and many of his subjects were photographed in their final years; Francis Bacon died in 1992, Leigh Bowery in 1993, Michael Andrews in 1996, and Euan Uglow in 2000. At the beginning of the 21st century, Bernard’s photographs are a vivid reminder of the artists who dominated painting in the second half of the late twentieth century, and whose reputations continue to flourish and inspire.

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