Dating from 1962, Reclining Model in the Studio II is painted in the earthy colours that typify Auerbach's earlier work. Auerbach's working method of painting, scraping-down and repainting using thickly-laden brushes, has resulted in considerable depth to the paint surface and peaks of paint that rise and trail across this intensely worked board.
Auerbach has, however, rejected the importance that some critical writing has attached to the sculptural thickness of the impasto he creates, commenting, 'I don't know how they can talk about thickness, really. Is blue better than red, thick better than thin? - no. But the sense of corporeal reality that's what matters. English twentieth-century painting tends to be thin, linear and illustrative. I wanted something different; I wanted to make a painting that, when you saw it, would be like touching something in the dark. But Matisse could do that with thin paint and bright colours!' (quoted in R. Hughes, Frank Auerbach, London, 1990, p. 86).
Reclining Model in the Studio II sits within the lineage of 20th Century British painting that runs from Walter Richard Sickert through David Bomberg to Auerbach. Although Auerbach would have been very familiar with Sickert's work while a student at Borough Polytechnic, where he was taught by David Bomberg, who had been a pupil of Sickert's, it was Helen Lessore's enthusiasm for the older artist which confirmed Auerbach's interest.
Auerbach has commented, 'Helen Lessore wrote somewhere that [Sickert's locales] are grubby miserable bedrooms: well, those bedrooms with girls in them, where the sheets smell of human congress, they don't look in the least depressing to me - they seem to be really very jolly places. I recognize my life in those streets and in those bedrooms! I felt at home in Sickert's world. And a very enjoyable world it is, too! Those Mornington Crescent bedrooms, with plump sweaty nudes in beds, seem to be extremely desirable places to be in' (quoted in R. Hughes, Frank Auerbach, London, 1990, p. 89).
The present owner's mother was taught by Auerbach at Sidcup Art School and she bought Reclining Model in the Studio II at this time.