Us: From There to Here

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Us: From There to Here

Discover the stories of exiled artists from Asia and Europe in this exhibition as part of the wider Ben Uri Research Unit focus on the Jewish, Refugee, Immigrant contribution to British visual art since 1900

The exhibition runs at the gallery in Boundary Road, St. John’s Wood, NW8 0RH

from 10 April to 14 June

Open Wednesday to Friday, 10am to 5.30pm

Academic Research | Collection and Exhibitions

Arts and Mental Health | Digital Engagement

This free publication is for educational and critique purposes only and is not for resale or commercial use under any circumstance

Lancelot Ribeiro King Lear, Born Bombay (now Mumbai), India Migrated to the UK in
Clara Klinghoffer The Girl in the Green Sari, 1926 Born Szerzezec, Poland, now Lemberg, Ukraine Migrated to the UK in 1903

From There to Here: Dominica to Britain

Tam Joseph (1947- ), The Hand Made Map of the World, 2013

Acryllic on board, 72.5 x 121.2 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1955

Central School and Slade School graduate, Tam Joseph was born in Dominica and migrated to England in 1955. His work explores the many and multi-faceted inspirations, aspirations, and contradictions that shape contemporary realities. ‘The Hand Made Map’ of the world playfully reorders conventional geographies, blurring boundaries and suggesting new and unexpected possibilities for the world political map. ‘Painting is about looking and interpreting and interpreting and looking again. It’s about scraping back to go forward,’ he has observed. A version of this painting was first presented as a billboard at the 2014 Edinburgh Art Festival (Pop up - Calton Road) and also forms part of a series of responses by artists around the city and online to mark the dates (30 July - 30 August) at what would have been the 2020 Festival (cancelled due to the world pandemic).

From There to Here: Nigeria to Britain


Enwonwu (1917-1994), The Dancer (Agbobho Mmuo - Maiden Spirit Mask), 1962

Oil on canvas, 93 x 62 cm


to Britain in 1944

Painter and sculptor Odinigwe Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu MBE, better known as Ben Enwonwu, was born in Onitsha, Nigeria on 14 July 1917; his father was a traditional Igbo sculptor of masks and religious imagery, and his mother was a successful textile merchant. Through his father, he was exposed to art from a young age. Enwonwu studied art under Kenneth C Murray at Government College, Ibadan and Government College, Umuahia (1939-44), and while still a student, his work was included in a group exhibition at Zwemmer Gallery, London in 1937. He held his first solo exhibition in Lagos in 1944 prior to relocating to England on a graduate scholarship to study at Goldsmiths, London (1944). Dance was an important theme in Enwonwu’s work, which he explored as an element of black culture, capturing the drama and beauty of figures in motion, personifying the essence of dance. This painting shows one of the Agbogho Mmuo, or Maiden Spirits, characters of the Nigerian masquerade, which Enwonwu first employed in the 1950s following his reading of Geoffrey Gorer’s colonial critique, Africa Dances (1935). This painting represents Ben Uri & Great Britain in the 60th Venice Biennale (2024) exhibition ‘Foreigners Everywhere’ curated by Adriano Pedrosa.

From There to Here: Pakistan to Britain

Nasser Azam (1963- ), The Newborn, 1981

Watercolour on paper, 53.8 x 53 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1970

Sculptor and painter Nasser Azam was born in Jhelum, Pakistan in 1963 and moved to London, England with his parents in 1970. Initially, he pursued a career in the financial sector, maintaining his artistic practice in his spare time in a make-shift Birmingham studio. His early works depicted family life, and were more consciously religious rather than political, as he experimented with a number of painting styles ranging from symbolism to abstraction. In 1983 he was interviewed for a BBC documentary. After travelling widely in Japan, Europe and America, Azam became Artist-in-Residence at County Hall Gallery, London (2007–10), holding two exhibitions, ‘Anatomica’, inspired by illustrations in both fashion magazines and medical textbooks (2008) and ‘Life in Space’ (2009). In the same year, his monumental abstract bronze, ‘The Dance,’ was unveiled on London’s South Bank, opposite the Houses of Parliament. A series of performance paintings, carried out in extremte conditions followed, including in 2010 a visit to the ice deserts of Antarctica resulting in 13 large paintings, displayed in the Tokyo Metro, Japan and London Underground in 2011. His successful career continues unabated.

From There to Here: India to Britain

Lancelot Ribeiro (1933-2010), King Lear, 1964

Oil on canvas, 99 x 52.7 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1950

Artist Lancelot (né Lanceloté José Belarmino) Ribeiro was born into a Catholic family from Goa (then a Portuguese colony) in Bombay (now Mumbai), India on 28 November 1933. He moved to England in 1950 to study accountancy (which he hated), initially living with his half-brother, the painter F. N. Souza, switching in 1951 to study life drawing at St. Martin’s School of Art (until 1953), as well as writing poetry (from 1954) and experimenting with jewellery design. Ribeiro’s early work, principally townscapes and portraits, was inspired by Indian and Goan architecture and the Christian tradition. He later experimented with polyvinyl acetate (PVA), a precursor of acrylic paint, which had a reduced drying time, and employed a brilliant palette, largely embracing abstraction from the 1960s-80s, also exploring landscape and the practice of Tantra. Retrospectives were held at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery (1986) and Swiss Cottage Library Gallery (1987). Lancelot Ribeiro died in London, England on 25 December 2010.

From There to Here: Austria to Britain

Ottilie Tolansky (1912-1977), Portrait of Rabbi Joseph Trostmann, 1962-63

Oil on canvas, 101.3 x 78 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1933

Artist Ottilie Tolansky (née Ethel Pincasovitch) was born into a religiously observant Jewish family in Czernowitz, then in the Northern Bukovinan sector of Austro-Hungary (now Chernivtsi in Western Ukraine) on 30 May 1912. She grew up in Vienna (and always considered herself Austrian) and later in Berlin, where she studied at the progressive Reimann School of Art and then at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts. In 1933, following the rise of Nazism in Europe, she moved to England and continued her studies at Manchester Municipal School and, after the end of the Second World War, at Hammersmith School of Art in London. This portrait of the artist’s grandfather, Rabbi Joseph Trostmann, the head of the local Yeshivah in the small Black Sea port of Akkerman in the early twentieth century, was painted around 1962-63 - some years after the sitter’s death. Tolansky drew on a combination of her childhood memories and a family photograph to powerfully evoke her grandfather’s presence.

From There to Here: Austria to Britain

Hugo Dachinger (1908-1995), Portrait of a Man: Wilhelm

Watercolour and gouache on newsprint, 61.5 x 46 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1938

Graphic artist, designer, painter and sculptor, Hugo ‘Puck’ Dachinger was born in Gmunden, Upper Austria on 19 September 1908 to Jewish middle-class parents. He studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Leipzig, Germany (1929-32), paying for his tuition by selling portrait drawings and working as a salesman and window-dresser. Afterwards he worked as a graphic designer, moving in 1932 to Vienna, where he invented a system of moveable type (patented in 1933) and established workshops in Leipzig, Zagreb and Budapest. In 1938, travelling via Denmark, he immigrated to England, settling in North London and establishing the successful Transposter Advertising Ltd firm with Ernst Rosenfeld (which closed in 1945). From June 1940–January 1941 Dachinger was interned, first at Huyton, Liverpool and then in Mooragh Camp, Ramsey, on the Isle of Man. It was in Huyton in 1940 he met and painted Wilhelm Hollitscher in June 1940 over 4 sittings. The use of The Times newspaper as the base of his painting illustrates the forced ingenuity of the artists interned.

From There to Here: Austria to Britain

Ernst Eisenmayer (1920-2018), Internment at Douglas, 1940

Watercolour, graphite, gen, ink on paper on board, 30 x 23 cm

Commemorative piece with 29 signatures, 1940

Watercolour, pen, ink on paper on board, 28 x 24.9 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1939

Painter and sculptor Ernst Eisenmayer was born into a Jewish family of Austro-Hungarian descent in Vienna, Austria on 18 September 1920. Following Hitler’s accession to the Chancellorship in Germany in 1933 and the rise of increasingly anti-Semitic legislation, followed by the Anschluss (annexation of Austria) in 1938, Eisenmayer was imprisoned, aged 18, in Dachau Concentration Camp, where he witnessed many atrocities and made a series of drawings. In 1939 he managed to escape to England (as he later narrated in his memoir, ‘A Strange Haircut’), but following the introduction of internment for so-called ‘enemy aliens’ in June 1940, he was interned on the Isle of Man (October 1940 - September 1941), where he drew portraits of fellow internees. He participated in the camp art exhibition and one of his drawings was reproduced in the camp magazine, ‘The Onchan Pioneer’.

From There to Here: Austria to Britain

Joseph Otto Flatter (1894-1988), Simeon Alex Chima Onyejiako, LLB

Pencil on paper, 60 x 50 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1934

Painter and caricaturist Joseph Otto Flatter was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria) in 1894. His brother Richard Flatter (also an émigré to Britain) was a renowned Shakespeare scholar. Flatter’s studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, were interrupted by the First World War, in which he served in the Austro-Hungarian Army in South Tyrol, Italy. Afterwards, he worked as a portrait painter in Eastern Europe and as a lecturer in Brno, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). In 1934 he immigrated to Britain, together with his pianist-composer wife Hilde Loewe (Hilda Löwi), settling in St John’s Wood. Flatter’s commissions included the Austrian ambassador, Sir George Frankenstein amongst many but he is best known for his anti-Hitler political cartoons, begun in 1938, satirising selected quotations from ‘Mein Kampf’. The series was adopted by war charities to form modest touring exhibitions in London, Oxford, Birmingham, and Cambridge. In 1940, following internment as a so-called ‘enemy alien’ in Hutchinson Camp, Douglas, Isle of Man, Flatter worked intermittently as a cartoonist with the Ministry of Information (1940–45), also publishing cartoons in ‘Free Austria’, ‘Die Zeitung’ and British and American newspapers including the ‘Daily Telegraph’. He was one of only two foreign artists (alongside Josef Bato) granted a drawing permit to make sketches of the Blitz and its aftermath.

From There to Here: Germany to Britain

Frank Auerbach (1931 - ), Mornington Crescent, Summer Morning II, 2004

Oil on board, 51 x 51 cm


to Britain in 1939

Painter Frank Auerbach was born to Jewish parents in Berlin, Germany on 29 April 1931 and, following the rise of Nazism, was sent to England in 1939; his parents, who remained behind, subsequently perished in concentration camps. Auerbach spent his childhood at Bunce Court, a progressive boarding school in Kent for Jewish refugee children. He attended St Martin’s School of Art (1948–52) and studied at David Bomberg’s evening classes at Borough Polytechnic together with Leon Kossoff, as well as at the Royal College of Art (1952–55). Auerbach observed, as many other emigres could have, “ I wasn’t British born, {….} I didn’t have a family and I didn’t have anything to anchor me to whatever was going on”. This painting, Mornington Crescent, from 2004 reflects of one of his favourite subjects and is painted with his distinctive and characteristic heavy impasto and unusually in such vibrant optimistic tones.

From There to Here: Germany to Britain

Hilde Goldschmidt (1897-1980), Frau Trault Schranz, 1951

Pastel on paper, 50 x 37.4 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1939

Hilde Goldschmidt was born into a Jewish family in Leipzig, Germany in 1897 and trained in book design at the Academies of Fine Arts in both Leipzig and Dresden; at the latter she also joined Oskar Kokoschka’s painting classes between 1920 and 1923. In 1926, she studied in Paris before travelling to the South of France, where she remained until 1929, then moved to Capri in Italy. She later returned to Germany but in 1933, following Hitler’s accession to the Chancellorship, Goldschmidt was forced to flee Germany and, inspired by the Tyrolean landscape, settled in Kitzbühel, Austria. Unable to return to Germany ‘for political reasons’, she moved to England with her mother in the spring of 1939, earning her living by ‘handicrafts’, until following a meeting with Kokoschka in 1941 in Cornwall, she resumed painting. This bold portrait was probably executed in Goldschmidt’s Kitzbuhel studio in 1951. The style draws on her early training at Dresden Academy of Art in the 1920s under Kokoshka.

From There to Here: Germany to Britain

Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948),

Untitled: fur Frau Frankel, 1928

Collage, 7.6 x 5 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1940

Installation artist, painter and poet, Kurt Schwitters was born into an affluent family in Hanover, Germany in 1887 and studied in Dresden. Partly influenced by the Dadaists, in 1919 he created his own idiosyncratic form of art: ‘Merz’ – a term derived from the name ‘Kommerz- und Privatbank’ which appeared on a cut-up scrap of newspaper –which united all aspects of his prolific output: painting, collage, sculpture, architecture, poetry, drama, typography and happenings. In 1937 Schwitters and his son fled to Norway and in 1938 his work was included in the Exhibition of Twentieth Century German Art in London, organised as a riposte to the Nazi so-called ‘Degenerate Art’ 1937 Munich show in which his work had been included. In 1940 the Schwitters left for Britain, where they were both subsequently interned on the Isle of Man. This tiny work, listed as no. 1515a in the Scwitters Catalogue Raisonne, perfectly explemplifiues his high individual way of working. He dedicated the work to Frau Fraenkel whose vsculpture is displayed alongside.

From There to Here: Germany to Britain

Lucian Freud (1922-2011), Bella (Second Version), 1982

Etching on paper, 27 x 22 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1933

Painter and draughtsman Lucian Freud was born into a Jewish family in Berlin, Germany on 8 December 1922, the son of architect Ernst Freud and grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Following Hitler’s accession to Chancellorship in 1933, the family moved to Britain and Freud was educated at Dartington Hall in Devon (1933–36) and Bryanston School. He was naturalised in 1939. He briefly attended the Central School of Arts and Crafts (1938–39), then the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing (1939–42), run by Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines. Freud is celebrated for his penetrating, realistic portraiture. In his later decades he produced a powerful body of graphic work. This etching, previously In the collection of R.B. Kitaj, depicts his daughter Bella, one of his two daughters with long standing model Bernadine Coverley.

From There to Here: Germany to Britain

Elsa Fraenkel (1892-1975), Head of Chungsen Chou, 1928

Bronze sculpture, 56 x 19 x 23 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1933

Sculptor Elsa Fraenkel (nee Rothschild) was born into a prosperous Jewish family in Bensheim, Germany on 25 August 1892. She trained at the Karlsruhe Academy. In 1918 she married and moved to Hanover, where she was a member of Dadaist Kurt Schwitters’ cultural circle in the 1920s. Their friendship was later rekindled in exile in England and she brought with her two artworks by Schwitters, including Untitled: für Frau Fränkel (Ben Uri Collection), inscribed to her and dated 1928, providing a direct link between these two refugees from Nazism. Fraenkel remained in Hanover until 1933, travelling annually to Paris. She specialised in portrait sculpture, and although uncommissioned, her works were exhibited in Hanover, Berlin, Brunswick and Mannheim. Her sculpture of a young girl/bust of a girl was purchased in 1927 by the Landesmuseum, Hanover. Following her divorce in 1933, Fraenkel returned to Paris, before immigrating to London, bringing many of her sculptures with her and later establishing a studio in St John’s Wood. She exhibited frequently with the Women’s International Art Club (WIAC) between 1937 and 1953, showing works including her head of Chinese student Chungsen Chou exhibited here.

From There to Here: Germany to Britain

Bianca Lowenstein (1913-1984), Josephine Hertz

Bronze sculpture, 49 x 47 x 23 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1929-1931

Sculptor Countess Bianca Fischler von Treuberg was born in Munich, Germany on 29 September 1913. She spent her childhood in Italy and started to sculpt at the age of six, exhibiting at the Biennale in Rome at the age of twelve and later attending classes at the Academy of Rome, one of the youngest students to do so. In 1929 she moved to Paris, where she befriended Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti and the painters André Derain and Balthus, before moving to London and setting up a studio in Drayton Gardens. In 1932 she married Prince Leopold of Löwenstein, who had emigrated from Germany in the 1920s (their son Rupert Lowenstein became the Rolling Stones’ manager). After their divorce Von Treuberg moved to the USA in the 1960s, where she married the diplomat Peter Rosoff before returning to England. She exhibited under numerous names including Princess Lowenstein, Bianca Rosoff and Bianca including at the Wildenstein Gallery in London in 1939, in the June 1944 Free German League of Culture (FGLC) exhibition and in a mixed exhibition at Ben Uri in 1945. Her sculptural commissions include heads of Norman Mailer, Sir Victor Schuster and Trevor Howard, among others.

From There to Here: Germany to Britain

Eva Frankfurther (1930-1959), Jewish Woman, East End, 1951-58

Oil on paper, 71 x 55.1 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1939

Eva Frankfurther was born into a cultured and assimilated Jewish family in Berlin, Germany on 10 February 1930. Following the rise of National Socialism in Germany, she escaped to London with her siblings (her father and step-mother followed afterwards) in 1939. Between 1946 and 1951 she studied at St Martin’s School of Art, where her fellow students included Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach, who recalled Frankfurther’s ‘contempt for professional tricks or gloss’ and her work as ‘full of feeling for people’. This sensitive portrait captures the sitter’s personality, her dress and her hair positioned to reveal a drop pearl earring all reflects her admiration for Rembrandt. The body of work Frankfurther left behind following her untimely passing stands as a remarkable legacy to her talent.

From There to Here: Germany to Britain

Elisabeth Tomalin (1912-2012), Head, 1928-34

Gouache on paper, 51 x 36.1 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1936

Textile designer and art therapist Elisabeth Tomalin (née Wallach) was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Dresden, Germany on 4 October 1912, the youngest of four children. She studied at the progressive, Jewish-owned Reimann Schule in Berlin, where she was influenced in her distinctive approach to colour and the design potential of mandalas and batiks. When the school was closed by the Nazis, she left without formal qualifications, arriving in London without a visa in 1936. Unable to find suitable employment, she took temporary refuge in Paris, undertaking ‘black market’ work to create a portfolio that enabled her re-admittance to Britain as a qualified designer employed by Barlow & Company, Manchester. Elisabeth Tomalin’s boldly-coloured head, elaborately constructed in pastel and gouache facets, was created during her studentship at Berlin’s progressive Reimann Schule, where she studied from the late 1920s until 1934.

From There to Here: Poland to Britain

Alfred Wolmark (1877-1961), Portrait of Mrs Ethel Soloman in Riding Hat, 1909

Oil on canvas, 84.6 x 69.9 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1883

Aaron Wolmark was born into a Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland on 28 December 1877, and moved to England with his family in 1883, first to Devon and then to the East End of London. He trained at the Royal Academy (from 1895), where he added the English ‘Alfred’ to his name, exhibiting there (1901–36), as well as with the Allied Artists Association (1908–16) and the International Society (1911–25). He had his first solo exhibition at Bruton Galleries in London (1905). Wolmark’s teenage years in London’s East End and two lengthy stays in his native Poland between 1903–6, had a huge visual and spiritual, impact on his early Rembrandtesque work and Jewish subject matter. Using a bold, loose paint handling, in 1909 Wolmark shows Ethel Solomon as a fashionable young woman in black-and-white riding attire, offset by her mustard-yellow gloves, the putty-coloured background emphasising her fresh complexion.

From There to Here: Poland to Britain

Shmuel Dresner (1928-2019), Pages from the Diary of David Rubinowicz, 2005

Collage, 20 x 20.7 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1945

Shmuel (né Samuel) Dresner was born into a Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland on 2 January 1928. He was twelve years old when he and his family were forced into the Warsaw Ghetto. After attempting to escape, he was caught and held as a slave labourer at Buchenwald, and then at Theresienstadt. At the end of the Second World war, with the aid of the Central British Fund for German Jewry and the agreement of the British government, Dresner came to England as a refugee in 1945 as one of 700 child Holocaust survivors, a number of whom - known as ‘the Boys’ (although the group included girls) were sent to Windermere in the Lake District. Suffering from tuberculosis and malnutrition, he spent four years in a medical sanatorium, where he first began to paint, partly as a form of therapy. In this work, the artist avoids direct depiction of trauma, but using torn and burnt pages directly references the Burning of the Books authorised by the Nazis in Berlin on 10 May 1933. The subject of this work, David Rubinowicz, was born in Poland in 1927 and began writing a diary around 1940, documenting his experience of persecution as a Jew.

From There to Here: Poland to Britain

Roman Halter (1927-2012), Chodecz and Dorset, Friday 18 July 2008, 2008

Watercolour and ink on paper, 23 x 33 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1945

Artist, architect, writer and Holocaust survivor Roman Halter was born the seventh and youngest child into a traditional Jewish family in Chodecz, a small village in northern Poland in 1927. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he was deported (aged 12) with his family to the Lodz Ghetto, thence to Auschwitz, where he survived because of his skills as a metal worker, then to Stutthof and Dresden, and finally, to a children’s home in Theresienstadt. He was brought to London by the Central British Fund for German Jewry (the CBF, now World Jewish Relief) in 1945. During his incarceration by the Nazis in the Lodz ghetto with his family, Halter worked in the metal factory, a skill he later called upon in his creation of stained glass as part of his multi-media practice as a full-time artist from 1976 onwards. From 2000, he began to recall his nightmares with great clarity and created a series of watercolours, juxtaposing the horrific experiences he had witnessed in occupied Poland, with views of the idyllic Dorset countryside, near his daughter’s home, identifying each artwork by date and location, and occasionally an accompanying text. In 2006 Halter returned to Poland with the journalist film-maker, Fergal Keane, who recorded the visit to Chodecz for a BBC documentary.

From There to Here: Poland to Britain

Mosheh Oved (1885-1958), The Afflicted

Bronze sculpture, 46 x 33 x 20 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1903

Writer, sculptor, and founder of the antique jewellery shop Cameo Corner, Mosheh Oved (aka Edward Goodack or Edward Good) was born into a Jewish family in Poland in 1885. In 1903 he immigrated to England and settled in London’s East End, where he initially worked as a watchmaker. He was a founding member of the Ben Uri Society in 1915 and a great supporter of Yiddish culture, holding an honorary office within Ben Uri from its inception until 1956, and always maintaining that its main goal should be to collect pictures and open a gallery. The collection in these years was influenced by his taste as he helped to fund and facilitate the acquisition of a number of important early works by artists including Simeon Solomon, Jacob Kramer, David Bomberg and Samuel Hirszenberg. Oved collected 124 autobiographical stories and short tales in his book Visions and Jewels (1925), and included anecdotes about Sholem Asch and Jacob Epstein, among others. His other volume, The Book of Affinity (1933) was a deluxe production with original colour lithographs by Epstein.

From There to Here: Poland to Britain

Max Sokol (1895-1973), Head of Joseph Leftwich, 1944

Plaster sculpture, 43 x 24 x 24 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1937

Painter and sculptor Max Sokol (né Mordka Ajzik) was born into a Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland on 2 April 1895 and studied art in Stettin and Berlin under Prof Hugo Lederer. Following Hitler’s rise to power, he was forced to flee Germany for England in 1937, settling in the north-west London area, so densely populated by German-speaking refugees that it was known locally as ‘Finchleystrasse’. Jewish writer, critic and Yiddish translator Joseph Leftwich (1892–1983) was one of the founding ‘Whitechapel Boys’. Born Joseph Lefkowich to Polish-Jewish parents in Holland, he was raised in Germany until the age of seven when the family emigrated to Whitechapel. Leftwich initially worked as a furrier, afterwards writing for the Yiddish daily, Di Tsayt, and becoming a founding member of the Whitechapel writers group, which included Isaac Rosenberg, John Rodker and Clare Winsten’s future husband, Simy Weinstein. Leftwich’s 1911 diary (Tower Hamlets Local History Library) is the foremost document on the history of the Whitechapel Boys, now best-known for the artists David Bomberg and Mark Gertler. Leftwich was closely associated with the Ben Uri for many years and Sokol served on the arts committee during the 1950s. This portrait was carried out in 1944 and was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1945.

From There to Here: Poland to Britain

Josef Herman (1911-2000), Figure Studies

Pen, ink, and wash on paper, 22.2 x 17.1 cm

Miners, c. 1946

Pen and black ink on paper, 19.6 x 25.5 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1943

Painter and draughtsman Josef Herman was born into a Jewish, working-class family in Warsaw, Poland on 3 January 1911. He studied at the Warsaw School of Art and Decoration (1930-31), and first exhibited in his native city in 1932. Following increasing anti-Semitism, he left Poland for Brussels in 1938, where he was inspired by the Belgian Expressionists. With the onset of the Second World War, he was forced to flee via southern France and arrived in Glasgow in 1940, where he was reunited with fellow Polish artist Jankel Adler, whom he had known briefly in Warsaw. Together the two artists contributed, together with Scottish Colourist J D Fergusson, to a resurgence of the Scottish arts scene during this period. Herman moved briefly to London in 1943, exhibiting at the Lefevre Galleries, London (with L S Lowry, 1943) prior to his relocation to the Welsh mining village of Ystradgynlais (1944-55), which gave rise to his best-known body of work focusing on the Welsh miners and their community of which the two drawings are representative.

From There to Here: Poland to Britain

Clara Klinghoffer (1900-1970), The Girl in the Green Sari, 1926

Oil on canvas, 177 x 89.5 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1903

Painter Clara (née Chaje Esther) Klinghoffer was born into a Jewish family in Szerzezec, a village near Lwów (now Lviv), in Polish Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Ukraine) on 18 May 1900. She moved to England with her family at the age of three, settling first in Manchester, before moving to London’s East End. She drew from a young age, briefly taking classes at the John Cass Institute in Aldgate in 1914, before moving to the Central School of Arts and Crafts under Duncan Grant and Bernard Meninsky (1915–18) - the latter famously declared ‘Good Heavens! That child draws like da Vinci’ and she quickly established a reputation as the new ‘girl genius’, gaining a bursary to the Slade School of Fine Art (1918–20) under Prof. Henry Tonks. This portrait depicts Bengali artist Pratima Devi (1893-1969), daughter-in-law of the celebrated Bengali poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, whom she often accompanied on his travels.

From There to Here: Of Ukranian parentage in Britain

Leon Kossoff (1926-2019), Christ Church, Spitalfields, 1987

Charcoal on paper, 65 x 56 cm

Family immigrated to Britain in 1924

Artist Leon Kossoff was born to Jewish immigrant parents in Islington, London, England on 10 December 1926. His parents were both born in what was formerly the Russian Empire, and is now the Ukraine (both emigrated as children, and met and married in London in 1924); Leon was raised in the East End, where his parents ran a bakery. During the Second World War he was evacuated to King’s Lynn in Norfolk, where his host family encouraged his passion for drawing, and he subsequently attended life classes at Toynbee Hall in the East End, and Saturday classes at St Martin’s School of Art. Following National Service with the Royal Fusiliers Jewish Brigade (1945–48), he studied at St Martin’s School of Art (1949–53) and the Royal College of Art (1953-56), alongside Frank Auerbach, with whom he also attended David Bomberg’s evening classes at the Borough Polytechnic (1950-52), which proved a formative experience. London was the focus of much of Kossoff’s work, and Christ Church, Spitalfields, became a frequent motif in his work from 1987 onwards, explored in many iterations. The artist observed: ‘It seems to move into space like a great monument. When you look at the Christ Church a whole new world of space is opening up. You experience space and light that you hadn’t before, that is what painting is all about. Space and light occupied by human presence.’ (Leon Kossoff interview with Nicholas Cass and Jon Snow, Channel Four News, 2007).

From There to Here: Poland to Britain

David Bomberg (1890-1957), The Family (Study for Ghetto Theatre II), 1919 Pencil, ink and wash on paper, 25 x 20 cm

Study for Ghetto Theatre I, c. 1919

Pencil, ink and wash on paper, 26 x 19 cm

Born in England in 1890 of Polish parentage

David Bomberg was born to Polish-Jewish parents in Birmingham, England on 12 May 1890. The family moved to Whitechapel in 1895, where he later became prominent among the ‘Whitechapel Boys’ - the term applied to a loose, informal group of young, Jewish, mainly immigrant artists who were either born, raised or worked in the East End in the first two decades of the 20th century, and who, both collectively, and individually, made an important contribution to British Modernism. Initially apprenticed as a chromolithographer, he attended night classes under Walter Sickert and also worked as an artist’s model before studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, where he was seen as a ‘disturbing influence’. In 1913 Bomberg visited Paris with Jacob Epstein, making contact with artists including Modigliani and Picasso. Bomberg’s harrowing service in the trenches during the First World War was compounded by a disastrous experience as a commissioned war artist, explored in a series of related drawings. The two drawings shown are from 1919 & 1920, immediately after the end of the war when he explored the movement of the Yiddish Theatre in the East End of London.

From There to Here: Russia

to Britain

Emmanuel Levy (1900-1986), Crucifixion, 1942

Oil on canvas, 102 x 78 cm

Born in England in 1900 of Russian parentage

Emmanuel Levy was born to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in Hightown, Manchester, England in 1900. Like Jacob Kramer, he was one of a small group of Jewish artists, whose families, fleeing persecution, restrictive legislation and economic hardship settled in the north of England as part of a wider wave of Jewish migration to Britain at the close of the nineteenth century. Emmanuel Levy’s Crucifixion is a personal protest against Jewish persecution in mainland but designed to challenge the silence of those in power. The significance of the work is that is from 1942 - based on anecdote and rumour of the genocide in Central Europe but the Government had not yet publicly acknowledged the realities.

From There to Here: France to Britain

Orovida Pissarro (1893-1969), Refugees, 1947

Oil on canvas, 71 x 64 cm

Born in England in 1893 of French parentage

Orovida (née Orovida Camille Pissarro) was born into an assimilated Jewish family and in Epping, Essex, England on 8 October 1893. A member of the distinguished Pissarro painting dynasty, she was the only daughter of the landscape painter, printmaker, wood engraver, designer and printer Lucien Pissarro (1863–1944) and the wood-engraver, designer, and printer Esther Pissarro (née Bensusan, 1870–1951), and the granddaughter of Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro (1830–1903). She began drawing and painting at an early age and was the first woman born into the Pissarro family to become a professional artist. She lived and worked predominantly in London, where she was a prominent member of several British arts clubs and societies. The death of the artist’s father Lucien Pissarro in 1944, had a profound impact on Orovida’s life and work as she moved away from tempera towards oils. In the years following the end of the Second World War, Orovida’s work became largely focused on groups of individuals. These paintings display a strong sense of humanity and may reflect a heightened sense of community in the wake of the widespread displacement caused by the war. Refugees - sometimes referred to by the artist as ‘Six Refugees’, although there are, in fact, a total of seven figures in the painting - reflects these concerns and appears to be the only work from this period that directly explores the subject of displacement.

From There to Here: Austria to Britain

Mark Gertler (1891-1939), Daffodils in a Blue Bottle, 1916

Oil on canvas, 69 x 52 cm

Born in England in 1891 of Austrian parentage

Mark Gertler was born the fifth and youngest child of Austrian-Jewish immigrant parents in Spitalfields, London, England on 9 December 1891. During a period of economic downturn, the family was repatriated to Przemyśl, Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian empire (now Southern Poland), the following year. After his father’s departure to seek work in America, the family lived on the brink of starvation until eventually they were reunited in London in 1896. Following a brief apprenticeship at Clayton and Bell stained-glass makers, and evening classes at the Regent School Polytechnic, Gertler entered the Slade School of Fine Art in 1908, with a loan from the Jewish Education Aid Society; twice winning the Slade scholarship and leaving with another from the British Institution in 1911. He began exhibiting while still a student with Vanessa Bell’s Friday Club in 1910, had a joint show with John Currie at the Chenil Galleries, Chelsea in 1912, and began showing with the New English Art Club the same year. Gertler began this bold, experimental still life of daffodils in May 1916, during a period of respite away from his major canvas, Merry-Go-Round, in an effort to relieve his ‘penniless’ state by painting “some small saleable things”. After an uncertain start, he wrote to fellow artist Richard Carline that he had “got really interest in it, which means, probably, that is will be too good to sell!”

From There to Here: Slovakia to Britain

Stephen Roth (1911-1967), To Be Or Not To Be, c. 1944

Pen and ink on paper, 44 x 38 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1939

Cartoonist and illustrator Stephen Roth was born Štefan Roth into a Jewish family in Slovakia in 1911. In 1931 he moved to Prague where he drew sports cartoons, joke illustrations and portraits for various papers and magazines, signing his work ‘Pista’ (pronounced ‘Pishta’ from the Hungarian for Stephen). In 1935 he became Political Cartoonist on the anti-Nazi weekly ‘Demokraticky Stred’, edited by Dr H. Ripka (later head of the Czechoslovak Propaganda Department in London during the Second World War). Forced to leave Czechoslovakia in 1938, Roth travelled to Poland, then Sweden before arriving in London only days before war broke out in September 1939. By 1941 he was contributing political cartoons to the Ministry of Information, Central European Observer and the Free Norwegian newspaper Norsk Tidend. His popular series ‘Acid Drops’ began to appear in the Sunday Pictorial in 1942. This cartoon perfectly pierces the promulgated persona of Hitler.

From There to Here: Moldovia to Britain

Gregoire Michonze (1902-1982), Village People,1952

Oil on canvas, 25 x 20 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1946

Grégoire Michonze (Michonznic) was born into a Jewish family in Kishinev (Bessarabia) in the Russian Empire (now the Republic of Moldova) on 22 March 1902, and studied at the local art school, where he learned to paint traditional icons in tempera, before going on to study at the Academy in Bucharest. In 1922 he travelled to Paris via Greece, Istanbul and Marseilles, a journey which strongly influenced his later landscape painting. In Paris he entered the École des Beaux-Arts, and met Max Ernst who later introduced him to the Surrealists, notably André Breton, Paul Éluard, and Louis Aragon, though he gradually moved away from their influence to pursue his own personal path as a landscape and figurative artist. In 1924 he met Soutine with whom he developed a strong friendship. He held his first UK show in 1946 at the Arcade Gallery in London, followed by a second London exhibition at the Mayor Gallery in 1947.

From There to Here: Australia to Britain

Horace Brodzky (1885-1969), Supper at Emmaus

Immigrated to Britain in 1908

Australian-born painter, draughtsman and printmaker Horace Brodzky was born on 30 January 1885. He attended the Australian National Gallery School. In 1905 he travelled to San Francisco and New York, then moved to London in 1908. There he studied at the City and Guilds Art School in Kensington. From 1914 he was involved with the New English Art Club and the London Group, gradually developing a loose amalgam of Fauve and Post-Impressionist techniques. Brodzky became a close friend of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and, following his untimely death in 1915, he published his biography. An active member of the London Group, he served on the group’s hanging committee during the First World War. Brodzky was associated with the Vorticists and acted as clerk of works for their New York exhibition held at the Penguin Club in 1917. After the First World War, Brodzky returned to New York. There he worked as a painter, printmaker, theatre designer and journalist for eight years, exhibiting with the Temporary Group. In 1923 he returned to London, where he continued to paint until his death. Horace Brodzky died on 11 February 1969.

Oil on canvas

From There to Here: France to Britain

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915), Sculptural Head of Brodzky, 1913

Black chalk on paper, 33 x 20 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1911

Sculptor and draughtsman Henri Gaudier was born in Saint-Jean-de Braye, near Orléans in France on 4 October 1891. At the age of fourteen he made his first visit to England, studying in Bristol on a fellowship. Afterwards, he moved to Germany and then Paris, where he began to sculpt. In 1911 he returned to London accompanied by the Polish writer Sophie Brzeska, who was twenty years his senior, adding her surname to his. By 1913 Gaudier-Brzeska was part of a progressive circle which included T E Hulme, Ezra Pound and Jacob Epstein, becoming a founder member of The London Group, as well as a member of the Vorticists and publishing work in their journal “Blast”. He also had a close friendship with artists Horace Brodzky and Alfred Wolmark, both of whom he sculpted. In 1915 he volunteered for the army, sending Edward Wadsworth drawings from the trenches for inclusion in the London Group exhibition. Henri Gaudier-Brzeska died in action on 5 June in Neuville-Saint-Vaast, France at the age of 24.

From There to Here: Latvia to Britain

Dora Gordine (1895-1991), Awakening, 1944-45

Bronze sculpture, 20 x 39 x 18 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1935

Sculptor Dora Gordine (also known as Gordin or Gordina) was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Liepāja, Latvia on 8 June 1895, although until recently her origins and exact date of birth have often been obscured (particularly by herself). The family moved to Tallinn in Estonia in 1912 and she made her exhibiting debut in February 1917 at the third exhibition of the Estonian Art Society. In 1920, as White Russians, the Gordine family were encouraged to leave Estonia and she moved first to Berlin, and then, in 1924, to Paris, where she studied formally as a sculptor, exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries and commissioned her own studio. In 1930 she moved to Singapore and the following year she embarked on extensive travels through Malaya (now Malaysia), Cambodia, and Thailand. She held solo shows at the Leicester Galleries in London in 1933 and at the Flechtheim Galleries in Berlin and Düsseldorf. In 1935 she settled in England and, following her second marriage to the Hon. Richard Hare (1907–1966).

From There to Here: Ukraine to Britain

Bernard Meninsky (1891-1950), Family Group, 1940

Gouache on paper, 76 x 56 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1891

Bernard Meninsky (née Menushkin) was born into a Jewish family in Konotop, then within the Russian Empire (now Ukraine) on 25 July 1891 and brought to England by his parents when he was six weeks old, settling in Liverpool. After leaving school in 1902 he took evening classes in art and in 1906 won a scholarship to the Liverpool School of Art, also taking summer courses at the Royal College of Art (1909 and 1910). In 1911 he won a travel scholarship to study for three months at the Académie Julian in Paris and left Liverpool with the King’s medal. The following year he entered London’s Slade School of Fine Art on a one-year scholarship, meeting several ‘Whitechapel Boys’ including David Bomberg and Mark Gertler. Afterwards he briefly taught drawing in Italy in 1913, then returned to London to teach at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (where his pupils included Clara Klinghoffer), also joining the London Group the same year. In May 1914 Bomberg and Jacob Epstein included four Meninskys in the socalled ‘Jewish section’ in a wider show of modern art at the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

From There to Here: Argentina to Britain

Glenn Sujo (1952 - ), Figure Study for Roma, The Fountain, 1985

Conte chalk and pencil on paper, 59 x 84 cm

Arrived to Britain in 1972

Draughtsman, author, teacher, and curator Glenn Sujo was born in 1952 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London (1972-75), before earning his Masters and Doctoral degrees in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His drawings focus on both the empirical and imaginative nature of the medium. His work was been shown in Caracas, Venezuela, where he lived as a child and his first British solo exhibition was the 1982 ‘Histories’, hosted by the Arnolfini in Bristol, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford; followed by a second exhibition at Anne Berthoud in 1983. Sujo has taught at universities in the UK, USA, and Israel, and is currently a member of the senior faculty at the Royal Drawing School. His academic research revolves around the subject of ‘Imagination and Internment’ in Central and Eastern Europe during the Second World War.


There to Here: France to Britain

Dora Holzhandler (1928-2015), Mother and Children in Holland Park, 1997

Oil on canvas, 122 x 82 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1934

Painter Dora Holzhandler was born into a Polish-Jewish family in Paris, France in 1928. After the collapse of her father’s business, she was raised by a Catholic farming family in Normandy for five years, before returning to Paris, where her maternal grandfather, a rabbi, fuelled her interest in Jewish traditions. After moving to London with her family in 1934, she was evacuated to Norfolk during the Second World War. Many members of her extended family perished in the Holocaust; she only once depicted this subject in her work in My Grandfather in Auschwitz (1962, Ben Uri Collection). After the war, Holzhandler returned briefly to Paris, before re-settling in London in 1948. She studied at the Anglo-French Art School in St John’s Wood, London (1948-50), where her naïve style was first recognised and encouraged and she participated in the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) Young Contemporaries show in 1949, while still a student.

From There to Here: Romania to Britain

Clare Winsten (1892-1989), Portrait of Joseph Leftwich, c. 1919

Oil on canvas, 41 x 25 cm

Clare Winsten (1892-1989), Attack, c. 1910

Watercolour on paper, 54 x 76 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1902

Painter and sculptor Clare Winsten (née Clara Birnberg) was born to Galician Jewish parents in Romania on 10 August 1892, and later immigrated to England with her family c. 1902. She was a member of the Women’s Freedom League, as well as the only girl among the so-called ‘Whitechapel boys’, a group of artists and poets linked through the East End Jewish community centred around Whitechapel and Stepney. The latter included her future husband Stephen Winsten (formerly Samuel ‘Simy’ Weinstein), the poet/publisher John ‘Jimmy’ Rodker, and Joseph Leftwich (who coined the name), as well as the painter/poet Isaac Rosenberg and painters Mark Gertler and David Bomberg, whom she studied alongside at the Slade School of Fine Art. Her work was included in the ‘Jewish Section’ co-curated by Bomberg and Jacob Epstein as part of the Whitechapel Art Gallery’s ‘Twentieth-Century Art: A Review of Modern Movements’ in 1914. The portrait of Leftwich and her earlier dramatic composition ‘Attack’ both reflect the influence of Vorticistism.

From There to Here: Czechoslovakia to Britain

Ernest Neuschul (1895-1968), Double Portrait, 1933

Oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm


to Britain in 1939

Painter and graphic artist Ernest Neuschul was born into a Jewish family in Aussig, Austria-Hungary in 1895. He studied in Prague and later, Vienna, initially influenced by Expressionism. During the First World War he moved to Cracow, Poland in 1916 to avoid conscription. Afterwards, he studied at the Academy of Arts in Berlin and in Prague met the Dutch-Javanese dancer Takka-Takka (Lucie Lindemann, 1890-1980), whom he married in 1922. In 1919, following his first solo exhibition in Prague, Neuschul was recognised as one of the leading exponents of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement. Following the rise of Nazism, in 1933 he was dismissed from his Professorship of the Berlin Academy and labelled a ‘degenerate artist’. In 1939 he fled to Britain with the help of David Grenfell, Labour MP for Gower, Wales, whose portrait he painted in gratitude. This searching double portrait dates the traumatic year of 1933 and depicts Neuschul with Mimi, his protegee, model and muse, who lived with the artist and his wife from 1934 in Germany and later in Britain.

From There to Here: Czechoslovakia to Britain

Frederick Feigl (1884-1965), Bevis Marks Synagogue, 1954

Watercolour, gouache on paper and cardboard, 35 x 51.7 cm

Frederick Feigl (1884-1965), The Restaurant

Gouache on paper, 35 x 50.5 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1939

Painter Fred (Bedřich, Friedrich, Fritz) Feigl was born into a Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia (now Czech Republic) on 6 March 1884. He studied briefly at the Prague Academy of Arts – from which he was expelled owing to his enthusiasm for the avant-garde artists Munch, Van Gogh and Gauguin – and subsequently, at the Antwerp Academy of Art (1904–5) and the Académie Julian in Paris, and co-founded the reactionary art group ‘Osma’ (The Eight) in 1908. Afterwards, he settled in Hamburg in 1910 and established a significant reputation in Germany, and in Palestine (1932). Although he returned to Czechoslovakia in 1933, following the Nazi occupation, he was forced to flee Prague in April 1939 and settled in London. There, he mixed in émigré circles, exhibiting at the Wertheim Gallery (1940) and at the Czechoslovak Institute (1944), as well as at Ben Uri in 1959, 1963 and 1964, where he was also a member of the Arts Committee in 1949–63. Feigl, like many emigres, made West Hampstead Cosmo restaurant a home from home. He returned repeatedly to the motif of coffee houses and restaurants, recalling the ‘kaffe-haus’ culture of Prague and Berlin as illustrated by the painting above.

From There to Here: Czechoslovakia to Britain

Naomi Blake (1924-2018), Emergence-A, 1987

Bronze with copperplate base, 37 x 12 x 8 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1952

Sculptor Naomi Blake (née Zisel Düm) was born into a Jewish family in Mukačevo, Czechoslovakia (now Mukacheve, Ukraine) on 11 March 1924, the youngest of ten children. She was sent with her family to Auschwitz concentration camp, where 24 out of the 32 members of her family perished; afterwards, she escaped during a death march from Brannau, eventually reaching Palestine. In 1948, while she was recuperating, she was given a piece of olivewood to sculpt to pass the time and this ignited her lifelong passion for sculpture. After the war, she lived in Milan and in Rome, before immigrating to England and settling in North London. She studied at the Hornsey School of Art in London (1955–60) and began exhibiting in 1962 with the Society of Portrait Sculptors. Naomi Blakes sculpture encompasses both abstract and figurative forms in expressive and distinctive fashions.`

From There to Here:

Czechoslovakia to Britain

Kathe Strenitz (1923-2017), Dock Yards

Watercolour, pastel, pencil, pen and ink on paper, 39 x 50 cm


Watercolour on paper, 39.5 x 51.5 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1939

Käthe Strenitz (née Fischel) was born into a Jewish family in Gablonz (now Jablonec nad Nisou), Bohemia, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) on 12 April 1923. In 1939 she became one of the so-called ‘Winton children’, who travelled on a Quaker-sponsored kindertransport to England at the age of 16. Following difficult experiences as a refugee including as a fruit picker in Hampshire, where she was malnourished, she arrived in London to find that Mrs Winton had sent some of her drawings to Austrian émigré artist Oskar Kokoschka, upon whose recommendation she was awarded a British Council scholarship at Regent Street Polytechnic. Despite its title, the subject of this work resembles the industrial landscape of London, particularly the area around Kings Cross, which the artist so often favoured in her work, allegedly inspired by her arrival as a sixteen-year-old Kindertransportee at London’s Liverpool Street Station in 1939.

From There to Here: Hungary to Britain

Kalman Kemeny (1896-1994), Portrait

Oil on canvas, 79.5 x 62.5 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1938

Artist, critic and teacher Kalman Kemeny was born into a Jewish family in Nagykanizsa, Hungary in 1896 and trained at the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest from 1913–14. During the First World War, he served as an officer and was commissioned as the youngest Official War Artist with the Austro-Hungarian army on the Italian and Eastern Fronts between 1915 and 1917 (his memories of this period were later recorded by the Imperial War Museum). Afterwards, he attended the Academy of Creative Arts in Vienna as a graduate (1920–23) and postgraduate (1923–25) student, before moving to Pilsen, Czechoslovakia in 1925, where he remained until, following the ceding of Czechoslovakia’s northern frontier to Germany under the terms of the Munich Agreement in 1938, he left for England. The subject of this painting, Mrs Robert Solomon (née Ethel Cohen, 1888–1985), was born in Birmingham, the daughter of a draper, and went on to become a highly influential figure as Chair of the Women’s Federation of British Zionists in 1920. With her husband, Robert, who became President of the Jewish National Fund in England, she co-founded Whittingehame Farm School in 1939 to educate German and Austrian refugee children.

From There to Here: Hungary to Britain

Suzanne Perlman (1922-2020), Curacao Lovers, 1956

Oil on board, 78 x 59 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1990

Suzanne Perlman was born into a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary on 18 October 1922; her parents were antique dealers and collectors and she grew up surrounded by art and artists. In 1940 she married Henri Perlman, a Dutch businessman and scholar, with whom she briefly moved to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, before, amid the chaos of war, they were forced to flee via Paris only three days before the German Occupation. After boarding the Orient Express bound for Bordeaux, they sailed to the southern Caribbean island of Curaçao, off the Venezuelan coast, in the Dutch Antilles. The strong lines and deep, intense colour in Perlman’s painting reflect her love affair with the vibrant landscape of the West Indies. Perlman painted Curaçao and its people extensivelyafter settling there in 1940 when she and her husband fled The Netherlands during the Second World War.

From There to Here: USA to Britain

Ron Kitaj (1932-2007), Sir Claus Moser, 1987

Pastel on paper, 77 x 57 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1958

Painter, printmaker and draughtsman R. B. (Ronald Brooks) Kitaj was born to a Hungarian father and an American mother (of Russian-Jewish immigrant parentage) in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on 29 October 1932. After his parents divorced, his mother married Walter Kitaj, a Viennese-Jewish refugee and research chemist, and Kitaj took his stepfather’s name. Following an early career as a merchant seaman, he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and at Cooper Union in New York. He served in the US army for two years, travelling widely in France and Germany, before moving to England to complete his training at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford (1958-59) and the Royal College of Art, London (1959-61), alongside David Hockney, Derek Boshier, Allen Jones and Patrick Caulfield, among others. This striking portrait of distinguished German émigré statistician Claus Moser, Baron Moser, KCB CBE (1922-2015) is executed in Kitaj’s characteristic dynamic and highly coloured figurative style and was originally commissioned by the Royal Opera House.

From There to Here: Canada to Britain

Ben Tobias (1901-1985), Cafe Zeus, Berlin, c. 1920s

Oil on canvas, 18 x 23 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1921

Ben Tobias was born in Montreal, Canada in 1901. In 1920 he was befriended by Canadian artist J E H MacDonald, a founder member of the artist’s group Seven, and for a short while they painted together in Toronto. In 1921 Tobias sailed for France, meeting Matisse, and other important painters, before continuing his extensive travels in America, Canada, much of Europe – including Germany and Britain – and South America. During his European years he sold the majority of his paintings to finance his upkeep and travels. In the 1940s he returned to America and held a solo exhibition at the Lilenfeld Galleries in New York, followed by a second solo show at the Art house of Philippe Reichenbach in 1948 (and a further solo show at Reichenbach’s Paris branch in 1962). In 1960 he returned to Europe and participated in a mixed show at the Leicester Galleries, London. In this period, he was a frequent visitor to the Ben Uri Gallery. He also exhibited in Sao Paulo, Brazil (1974). He died in Canada in 1985. His portrait of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (1940s) is in the National Portrait Gallery, London. This oil on wood panel is an early example of the artist’s work and was painted in Berlin, Germany.

From There to Here: USA to Britain

Michele Franklin (1958 - ), Body Bank, 1988

Charcoal on paper, 29 x 39 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1966

(Linda) Michèle Franklin was born in Putney, Vermont State, USA, on 26 December 1958 to a British-Jewish father and African-American mother of part Native American Indian descent. She was influenced by her grandmother, the painter Miriam Israels, whose second husband, Naum Gabo, encouraged her to paint. In 1966, the Franklin family immigrated to England, settling in Hampstead. Franklin studied at Camberwell School of Art (1977–82), where her tutors included the sculptor Brian Taylor (1935–2013), whom she later married, and she stayed on a year to study etching, continuing her studies at the International School of Graphics in Venice. In contrast to her colourful paintings, Michele Franklin’s monochrome etchings and drawings from this period, based around the element of water, and exploring her enduring theme of human loss, have developed organically from her earlier series exploring the Holocaust, directly inspired by Claude Lanzemann’s landmark documentary ‘Shoah’. People are shown ‘overpowered or somehow entwined’ (as Franklin describes it) by the elements: desperate and often imposed on an equal and already troubled landscape.

From There to Here: USA to Britain

Alfred Cohen (1920-2001), Interior at Ballards, 1964-78

Oil on paper, 40 x 50.5 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1960

Alfred Cohen was born to parents of Latvian-Jewish heritage in Chicago, USA on 9 May 1920. After serving as an aerial navigator with the US army air force during the Second World War, he resumed his interrupted studies at the Chicago Institute of Art, graduating in 1949 and travelling to Europe on a scholarship. In the 1950s, with his first wife, Virginia (née Adler), he shared a studio in Paris with the Californian artist Sam Francis and held solo exhibitions in Germany and Paris. In France and Rome, he mixed with movie stars including Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren and Kirk Douglas, and his patrons included James Mason, Sam Wanamaker and Stanley Baker. He moved to London in 1960 and between then and 1963, carried out a series of panoramic Thames riverscapes and powerful commedia dell’arte figures that were critically acclaimed and often sold out

From There to Here: USA to Britain

Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), Lydia, 1931

Bronze sculpture, 48 x 40 x 20 cm

Immigrated to Britain in 1905

Sculptor Jacob Epstein was born into a relatively prosperous family of Russian/Polish-Jewish immigrants in New York City, USA on 10 November 1880, but as a teenager rejected the Orthodoxy of his upbringing. From 1893–98 he attended classes at the Art Students’ League and was inspired by the multicultural communities around him. After spending the winter of 1899–1900 cutting ice in New Jersey, he turned to sculpture, working in a bronze foundry (1901–2). On the proceeds of his first professional commission to illustrate Hutchins Hapgood’s The Spirit of the Ghetto (1902), he sailed to Europe. In Paris he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts (1902–3) and the Académie Julian (1903–4), sharing the appreciation of artists including Picasso and Modigliani, for Indian and West African art traditions. Epstein moved to London in 1905 and in 1907 he received his first major British commission, creating 18 nude sculptures for the facade of the British Medical Association Building (now Zimbabwe House) on the Strand. This subject, Lydia, was a jazz singer and dancer and to pay the rent was a waitress in Epstein’s favourite Chinese restaurant in London’s Wardour Street.

Us: From There to Here

Discover the stories of exiled artists from Asia and Europe in this exhibition as part of the wider Ben Uri Research Unit focus on the Jewish, Refugee, Immigrant contribution to British visual art since 1900

The exhibition runs at the gallery in Boundary Road, St. John’s Wood, NW8 0RH from 10 April to 14 June

Open Wednesday to Friday, 10am to 5.30pm

This free publication is for educational and critique purposes only and is not for resale or commercial use under any circumstance

Lancelot Ribeiro (1933-2010) King Lear, 1964 Born Bombay (now Mumbai), India Migrated to the UK in 1950
3232_BU_Us_A0.indd 04/04/2024 00:22
Clara Klinghoffer (1900–1970) The Girl in the Green Sari, 1926 Born Szerzezec, Poland, now Lemberg, Ukraine Migrated to the UK in 1903
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