From Adler to Żuławski - A Century of Polish Artists in Britain

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From Adler to Żuławski: A Century of Polish Artists in Britain Ben Uri Research Unit

From Adler to Żuławski: A Century of Polish Artists in Britain Ben Uri Research Unit

A companion volume to the exhibition ‘Art Out of the Bloodlands: A Century of Polish Art in Britain’ Ben Uri Gallery and Museum 27 June – 17 September 2017 First published in 2020 Ben Uri Research Unit 108a Boundary Road London NW8 0RH Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electrical, mechanical or otherwise, without first seeking permission of the copyright holders and the publishers. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 978-0-900157-66-0 ISBN Contributing editor: Rachel Dickson Catalogue designed and produced by Rachel Hooper, London Printed by Team Impressions Detail Illustrations: Front cover Marthe Hekimi, La Grande Peur du Monde, c.1940-44 p. 4

Tadeusz Znicz-Muszyński, Pinowy Ruch (Vertical Movement), c.1950s

p. 6

Wojciech Meyer, Polish Army Hand in Hand with Britain, 1944

p. 8

Andrzej Krauze, September 11 (Untitled), 2001

p. 18-19

Feliks Topolski, Old England, 1943

p. 22-23

Caziel, Composition WC 768, c. 1967

p. 29 Josef Herman, Tribute to Goya’s Black Pictures (In Memory for the Fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto), 1974 (reworked 1998) p. 35

Jankel Adler, Wounded (Portrait of a Man in a Cap), 1940s

p. 39

Marthe Hekimi, La Grande Peur du Monde, c.1940-44

p. 146

Teodor Axentowicz, The Parting, nd



The Future is Digital

07 Acknowledgements 09

Chairman’s Foreword

10 A Century of Polish Art in Britain: Curatorial Introduction Rachel Dickson 20 An Introduction to a Century of Polish Migration to Britain Anne White 24 From Inhuman Land to Safety: Artists of the Polish II Corps (Anders Army) Wiktor Komorowski 30 The Outsiders: Polish-Jewish Refugees in Post-war Britain David Herman 36 Polish Artists and The London Group David Redfern 39

Catalogue of Works

122 Bibliography 124

Polish Timeline


Selected Polish Artists in UK Collections


Selected Polish Artists in Polish Collections


Picture Credits and Copyright


Polish Translations of Essays



Ben Uri: A Museum for the Future A Virtual Museum and Research Centre

The publication of a detailed Sustainability and Public Benefit Strategy in October 2018 carved a new and pioneering road map for Ben Uri to reshape the traditional museum operating model and to establish distinctive, relevant and purposeful vehicles with which to best fulfil its charity objectives. Each facet of how this small to medium-sized museum operates was critically analysed and measured against public benefit and comparable return on financial investment. Qualitative, distinctive, cost-effective, impactful engagement is the critical criteria for the investment of charitable funds and our people’s talents and energies.

We have three principal functions within the museum’s overall focus of Art, Identity and Migration: 1) Ben Uri Digital (

From September 2020 we will operate permanently as a principally digital institution supported by our building in Boundary Road, St John’s Wood, London which houses the country’s most comprehensive research library on Jewish (and, in due course, immigrant) artists, the Ben Uri archive and the ground floor exhibition gallery. This virtual museum offers unlimited space and opportunities to engage meaningfully and purposefully within a local, national and international orbit. It is an extraordinarily effective cost, content and engagement substitute for the unaffordable high capital and running costs of a large, centrally-located building in London, within an environment of shrinking public capacity for charity support for smaller arts institutions. 2) Ben Uri Research Unit

Charged with researching and producing the country’s first comprehensive study and digital record of the considerable, and often seminal, Jewish and immigrant contribution to British visual culture since 1900. This is an ongoing commitment and will be a valuable resource for schools, undergraduates, post-graduates, teachers, lecturers, scholars, social historians, researchers, archivists, critics, journalists, local and national politicians, art collectors, dealers and auction houses, amongst others. The new

Collection and Collecting policies, detailed in the Sustainability and Public Benefit strategic plan, are driven by quality rather than quantity, and focus on creating the country’s only specialist, qualitative collection of work by Jewish and immigrant artists in Britain since 1900, in parallel with the Research Unit. The Research Unit will oversee the publication of new scholarship emanating from its researches and will present themed, virtual and physical exhibitions to match. Ben Uri archives will continue to be published online, with the benefit of a fully linked search capability. Extending the focus of the country’s most authoritative library on Jewish artists to encompass comprehensive publications on immigrant artists, will reflect the full context of the Research Unit.. 3) Ben Uri Arts and Health Institute

The institute is charged with continuing to develop an extensive body of researched and evaluated art interventions for older people in care settings and in the community at large, with a particular focus on people living in social isolation or with dementia. The Ben Uri collection is at the core of this creative outreach programme. The ultimate objective is to upscale into highly impactful and cost-effective national programming and delivery.




Ben Uri Research Unit extends sincere thanks to all those who have contributed to this publication, to those who generously lent works to the original exhibition held in summer 2017 at Ben Uri Gallery and Museum in London, and to all involved in crystallising this three year project. Particular appreciation is due to the Polish Cultural Institute, who have generously supported this project and made this publication possible. We thank the Embassy of the Republic of Poland; Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK); The Polish Library POSK; Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw; Charles Adams; Janina Baranowska; Matthew Bateson; Magda Blasinska; A M Borkowski; Joanna Chapman; Joanna Ciechanowska; Marta de Zuniga; Anne Dockery; Andrew Frenkiel; Olenka Frenkiel; Reverend Andrew Goodhead; Liz Hankins and family of Tadek Beutlich; David Herman; Annabel Hodin; Konrad Jagodziński; Ivor Jarman; Maciej Jedrzejewski; Anne Karpf; Agi Katz; Jarosław Koźmiński; Wiktor Komorowski; Andrzej Krauze; Jakub Krupa; Gosia ŁapsaMalawska; Paulina Latham; Alicia Melamed Adams; Joanna Młudzińska; Maja Ngom; Dr Dobra Platt; Hanna Puskarz; David Redfern; Jasia Reichardt, Magda Skupińska; Adriana Świerszczek; Robert Szaniawski; Whitford Fine Art; Professor Anne White, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies; Max Wieliczko and Jane McGregor; Maximilian William and Maria Żuławski. For realisation of this publication, thanks are due to Rachel Hooper for design, Aleksandra Śliwińska for translations and Justin Piperger for photography. Thanks are extended to Rachel Dickson who curated the original exhibition and is this publication’s contributing editor; Sarah MacDougall, Head of Collections and Head of Ben Uri Research Unit (BURU); Laura Mroz for exhibition and publication assistance, and all at Ben Uri who together have brought this publication to fruition.



Chairman’s Foreword A New Digital Era

In the three years since Ben Uri’s exhibition celebrating a century of Polish artists in Britain was held in Boundary Road – the catalyst for this publication – not only has Poland celebrated its century as an independent nation, but the world has changed in ways we could hardly imagine then.

Ben Uri is proud to present A Century of Polish Art in a digital and printed format under the umbrella of the ‘Ben Uri Research Unit for the Study of the Jewish and Immigrant Contribution to British Visual Culture since 1900’ (BURU), formed as the key ‘art’ longterm vision in the 2018 revised strategic plan.

Pressing issues of 2017 – news and fake news, truth and post-truth, immigration and immigrants, Brexit – all barely register now in this time of global pandemic. As every facet of our daily lives requires significant adaptation to reflect the changed and evolving new norm; galleries and museums also face new challenges to maintain fruitful engagement with you, our public and audience.

In this time of Covid-19, when all countries across the globe are impacted, and every immigrant community in the UK not only feels the deadly reach of the virus, but also responds with frontline workers nationwide, it is right and appropriate to celebrate the contribution to Britain’s visual culture, of the largest migrant group within our nation

Ben Uri is at the forefront of a digital revolution within engagement processes in museums, and within cultural entertainment in general.

This publication, like Czech Routes before and all others to follow at Ben Uri, is readily available to all internet users world-wide, as print-on-demand at a greatly reduced price, making it far more accessible and ecologically sound.

In October 2018 Ben Uri published a 20 page, detailed strategy to address the decades ahead through a (then considered radical) creative transformation, from the museum sector’s standard physical operating model, with a limited digital presence, to a principally, digital institution, with a limited physical presence. Whilst digital engagement has rapidly accelerated during the Covid-19 lock-down period, the demands of the museum sector’s physical assets will force a reversal and rebalancing of audience engagement. This is not the case for this charity and museum. We are totally committed to pioneering an exciting, distinctive digital future and are investing heavily to push the boundaries of the virtual world to make every aspect of our wide-ranging programmes more and more accessible, interesting, engaging and valuable.

This alternative means of engaging with a powerful canon of art works, and the accompanying narratives, by artists from this important Polish immigrant community, reflects this museum’s future. David J Glasser


A Century of Polish Art in Britain: Curatorial Introduction Rachel Dickson Ben Uri Research Unit

This publication has slowly grown out of the second exhibition in Ben Uri’s ongoing series, highlighting the cultural contribution of diverse refugee and migrant national groups in Britain, held in the gallery during summer 2017. Following The Lives of Others: Refugee Artists from Nazi Germany in Britain, the opening exhibition in the series, A Century of Polish Artists in Britain features a cohort who have had a significant presence in this country for more than 100 years. This focus continues to be particularly relevant as the Polish community in Britain exceeded its millionth citizen during 2017, confirming its position as the largest UK migrant community; as Poland celebrated its centenary in 2018 as an independent nation state, reborn in the aftermath of the First World War; and as 2019 marked the eightieth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Furthermore, within an artistic context, 2017 was considered to be the centenary of Poland’s first significant engagement with avant garde art, celebrating the opening on 4 November 1917 of the first exhibition by the group ‘Polish Expressionists’ in Cracow. Once Europe’s largest country, and with the continent’s first written constitution, the multi-national Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth disappeared from the map of Europe in 1795, divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Emerging as an independent state in 1918, only to be partitioned again by Nazi Germany and the USSR in autumn 1939, Poland remained in the Soviet sphere of influence until 1989, when it regained sovereignty and re-established democratic governance, joining the European Union in 2004. With London’s special status as the former seat of the Polish Government-in-Exile from 1940 for half of the twentieth century, and Britain’s role as the country in which many Polish migrants chose and continue to choose to settle, the exhibition and this publication investigate the extraordinary story of a peripatetic nation which never gave up dreams of freedom, whilst proudly holding onto patriotic images steeped in national history, culture and religion. The two-part exhibition narrative reflects experiences of the whole Polish community in Britain, and Poland’s recent turbulent history, through the lens of art. It traces the complex journeys of artists – both Jews and non-Jews – who fled successive regimes, were variously persecuted, imprisoned and interned, who crossed continents, or who, today, in contrast, have made positive choices to move here to study or to develop professionally. The project brings together a century of artworks and archival material by both celebrated and lesser-known Polish-born artists, from the Ben Uri Collection and from a range of external sources – many from within the Polish community in London, to explore complex issues of homeland, identity and migration.


Ben Uri and the Polish Contribution Perhaps surprisingly, there has been a Polish presence in contemporary art in Great Britain for more than 100 years, as the records of the London Group (as described by David Redfern elsewhere in this publication) and the Ben Uri Art Society – formed in the capital in 1913 and 1915 respectively – attest. And although it is impossible to unite these disparate Polish artists under the single banner of one national school abroad, it would not be incorrect to say that most share a ‘common tradition’, much as German émigré artists of the period 1933-45 were often defined by their expressionism – and as a result found little popularity amongst the British art buying public who preferred the French ‘taste’. As writer and art critic Hebert Read commented in his introduction to the 1938 exhibition Modern German Art at the New Burlington Gallery in London, which showcased 31 ‘degenerate’ artists: ‘It would not be untrue to say that to the general public in Great Britain, modern German art is totally unknown’ – to which one could so easily add the canon of Polish painting. A number of the early twentieth century painters were products of the renowned Polish Fine Arts Academies in Cracow (Marian Bohusz-Szyszko; Caziel; Stanisław Frenkiel; Henryk Gotlib; Zdzisław Ruszkowski and Feliks Topolski) and Warsaw (Franciszka Themerson; Marek Żuławski), variously influenced not only by the important earlier generation of Polish Jewish history painters, such as Maurycy Gottlieb (1856-79) and Samuel Hirszenberg (1865-1908), but also by avant garde groups such as the Formists and Kapists. Hence, much of the work featured is marked by an overriding concern for colour and form, as well as a powerful painterly expressiveness, and a belief in a work of art as a carrier of avant-garde theories, often through the vehicle of figuration. The first part of the Catalogue of Works features artists represented in Ben Uri’s permanent collection, reflecting the first two main waves of Jewish migration to Britain from Polish soil, commencing with those who fled primarily from the Russian Pale of Settlement before the end of the First World War, to escape pogroms and persecution or to seek better economic conditions. The Ben Uri Art Society itself was founded in Whitechapel in the heart of London’s East End Jewish ghetto by Russian émigré artist/ craftsman, Lazar Berson, and a number of other key, early members were born on Polish soil, such as Alfred Wolmark (Vice President from 1923-1956); Moshe Oved (formerly Eduard Goodack/ Edward Good; founder, Ben Uri Council from 1915-52 and Vice-President from 1934-56), responsible for facilitating many important early acquisitions made by the Society; and Leopold Pilichowski (Vice President from 1923-24 and Honorary President from 1930-33). His wife, known as Lena Pillico, was honoured with the first solo exhibition held under Ben Uri’s auspices, at her St John’s Wood studio in 1927, only two years after the Society opened its first gallery and hosted the inaugural exhibition of its newly acquired collection, opposite the British Museum in London’s West End.


A number of modernist artists born on Polish soil – or the children of recent immigrants – began to make their mark in British artistic circles during the first two decades of the Twentieth century. Associated with the East End ghetto and known collectively as the Whitechapel Boys, this group, was described by Colour magazine’s critic ‘TIS’ (Herbert Furst, later art critic at Apollo) in April 1920, as ‘a remarkable phenomenon […] of so much artistic talent. Epstein, Wolmark, Kramer, Meninsky, Bomberg and [Philip] Naviasky represent, I believe, the first English generation of Polish Jewry’. This volume also features works by a small group of Polish-born artists who briefly sojourned in Britain at this time, but did not settle permanently – though they left their mark on Ben Uri: Henry Glicenstein, the renowned sculptor, was feted by the Society in 1921, as recorded in early minutes written in Yiddish, and funds were raised to acquire a number of his works, which were subsequently displayed in the opening exhibition of 1925; while Łódź-born Isaac Lichtenstein – usually associated with L’Ecole de Paris Juif – was also briefly in London in the 1920s when he was in contact with Ben Uri, designing the Society’s second logo after the departure of its founder, Lazar Berson. Moving forward, Ben Uri’s holdings of work by Polish artists is, unsurprisingly, particularly enriched by the second wave of Polish Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors who fled Nazi persecution from 1939 onwards (see David Herman’s essay, p. 30). These artists include: Jankel Adler, Roman Halter, Josef Herman, Shmul Dresner and Alicia Melamed Adams; the latter, now in her nineties is the only surviving student of Bruno Schulz, the renowned Jewish writer and artist, regarded as one of the most important Polish literary figures of the early twentieth century, who was tragically murdered by the Gestapo in 1942. As with the majority of acquisitions made during Ben Uri’s first three decades, many of these Polish works were not acquired as part of a deliberate strategy, but came about frequently as donations, and in the wake of Ben Uri’s important annual exhibitions of work by ‘Contemporary Jewish artists’, begun in 1934, as a means of providing opportunities for newly arrived émigrés, many of whom settled in north west London. (This is no less true of the Polish artists: Ruszkowski and Herman lived in Hampstead, the Pilichowskis were in St John’s Wood, and Żuławski moved into the former studio of the British Edwardian sculptor, Gilbert Bayes, in Greville Place in NW8, only yards from Ben Uri’s current gallery). Research for this project has also brought to light the significance of Marthe Hekimi who was born Marta Szostakowska in Łódź, exhibited widely in Europe during the 1930s, and participated in a two person show with Sophie Korner at Ben Uri in 1947. Ben Uri today continues its support for women artists; approximately 27% percent of artists represented in the collection are women – a figure significantly higher than the average


for national and regional collections, while the fierce debate over Ben Uri’s future location in London continues unabated. Ben Uri also shared contacts with the Polish and wider émigré community through the short-lived Ohel Club. This largely philanthropic association was founded in late 1942 by the émigré Polish-Jewish Margulies brothers, Alexander (1902–1991, Chairman of Ben Uri from 1965-86 and on council from 1948-86) and Benzion (1890–1955), to offer ‘a centre for political, social and cultural activities of Polish Jewry’, with membership embracing artists, such as Josef Herman, writers and political thinkers. Leading commercial galleries founded by émigrés and certain regional museums also maintained a strong Polish presence; Jankel Adler, Henryk Gotlib, Josef Herman and Zdzisław Ruszkowski comprised four of the original ten artists shown in Helen Kapp’s Continental British School exhibition at Wakefield City Art Gallery in 1959, while the same five names were shown with Martin Bloch at Campbell and Franks exhibition Six Continental British Artists in 1977, both part of Professor J P Hodin’s largely unrealised initiative to create and promote a single coherent continental ‘school’ of émigré artists in Britain. Ben Uri also has significant holdings by Polish illustrators and cartoonists, including Ralph Sallon, born Rachmiel David Zelon (Zieluń), who was resident caricaturist on the Jewish Chronicle until 1930, and Mark Wayner (Weiner), both from the earlier generation, to George Him, half of the notable design duo, Lewitt-Him, founded in 1933 in Warsaw and transferred to London before the outbreak of war through the efforts of the V&A, amongst others.

From Anders Army to Brexit The second part of the Catalogue of Works features works by a cohort of primarily non-Jewish Polish artists, lent by commercial galleries, Polish institutions, such as POSK (Polish Social and Cultural Association, which, like Ben Uri, became a repository for artworks by its own community), private collectors, and directly from artists and their families. These artists include those who found themselves trapped in Britain with the outbreak of war, unable to return home; those who were imprisoned or deported deep into the USSR following the occupation and annexation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in autumn 1939; those who joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West; and those who arrived in Britain as part of the so-called Anders Army later in the 1940s, alongside the young artists who have chosen to come to Britain today, more than 75 years later, for educational or professional reasons. (Though with the onset of Brexit, this may see a reverse or slowdown in the future.) These artists, although of disparate


generations and life experiences, nevertheless, often retain a clear and shared sense of national identity, despite translocation; common themes, media and iconography reoccur – images of the Polish cavalry, the dark eastern European forests, Polish folklore, crafts, paper sculpture, a strong graphic impulse, and Polish Catholicism. Many of those deported by the Soviets subsequently made a perilous journey from Siberia and central Asia back to western Europe, and eventually to Britain, with the Polish Armed Forces in the East under General Władysław Anders, via Iran, Palestine and Italy. Remarkably, due to the financial support of the Polish Government-in-Exile in London and the enlightened strategy of General Anders himself, the so-called ‘Anders Army’ provided opportunities via the Centre of Culture and Education for its artist-soldiers to study and exhibit during their long route out of exile. Many of these artists feature in Douglas Hall’s important publication, Art in Exile, Polish Painters in Post-war Britain (2008), who were then frequently supported in London by Polish-run exhibition spaces, such as the Centaur, Drian and Grabowski Galleries, and variously joined Grupa 49, The London Group (see David Redfern’s essay, p. 36) and the Association of Polish Artists (APA, founded in 1955), all offering exhibition opportunities. Halima Nałęcz, artist and founder of the Drian Gallery – its name shortened from ‘Mondrian’ – featured in Ben Uri’s exhibition 10 Contemporary Artists in Association with the Drian Gallery, held at its Dean Street premises in 1967. In this context of Polish artists offering mutual support, Andrzej Kuhn’s joyful roundel celebrates 40 years of the Centaur Gallery, founded by Polish pilot in exile, Jan Wieliczko, to offer his countrymen exhibiting opportunities in north west London. The travails of the Anders journey, as discussed in Wiktor Komorowski’s essay, are reflected in works such as Koltonowski’s haunting forest drawing, inspired by 19th century Russian painting and redolent of Polish folktales. He kept this work with him, rolled up, reworking it over a fourteen year period, as evidenced by the inscription on the lower left, a trajectory all too familiar with those Poles who traced their way to Britain, via the Middle East, Italy and France, over many years. An epic journey is also documented in Jan Wieliczko’s eagled-embossed photo album, created with his pilot brother, culminating with his joyful arrival in Britain and a fledgling art career, when he would leave his British air base each day to study stage design with Vladimir Polunin at the renowned Slade School in London. Ruszkowski also recorded his wartime experiences with the army in his moving personal account entitled Unofficial War Artist. A number of Polish soldier artists from the Army in the West (including Jankel Adler) were demobbed in Scotland and the significant presence of Polish artists in Scotland during the war is witnessed by two exhibitions held in 1940 and 1941. The first, Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Polish Artists was held at T & R Annan & Sons of Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, and featured 85 works by five artists – including Gotlib, Topolski and


Żuławski, while the Exhibition of Works by Artists of Our Allies Belgium Czechoslovakia France Greece Jugoslavia Nederlands Norway Poland under the auspices of the British Council May 1941, at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, no less, displayed more than 400 works (encompassing sculpture and metalwork) with well over half the contributions by Poles, including Gotlib, the design partnership Levitt-Him, Ruszkowski, Topolski and Żuławski. Janina Baranowska arrived in England in 1946, her teenage years in Soviet exile precluding art study; subsequently, she enrolled with David Bomberg at Borough Road in the early 1950s, relishing his skills as a teacher who emphasised form and composition. Her Borough portrait is accompanied by a later Crucifixion, which owes much to the expressionist influence of her other teacher, Marian Bohusz-Szyszko, another Anders artist and founder of the Polish School of Art in exile. A deeply spiritual painter, he eventually married Dame Cecily Saunders, founder of the Hospice Movement in England; much of his work is still on display at St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, south east London. Stanisław Frenkiel, charismatic member of the Polish artistic community in exile, whose journey with the Anders Army encompassed sojourns in Beirut and Cairo, produced suites of lively figure studies in both cities. Eventually arriving in Britain, he variously studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art, was employed by the Institute of Education, taught art in schools, wrote art criticism, and broadcast in Polish for the BBC. He also painted prolifically, creating idiosyncratic works whose style and content hover somewhere between that of Georges Rouault and Otto Dix, where myth, history painting and a wryly humourous domesticity collide. Janina Bogucka’s colourful Middle Eastern women, made on her Anders’ journey, contrast with Frenkiel’s monochrome sketches of Cairo prostitutes. Znicz-Muszyński, another Anders’ artist, is unusual in that his spiky, landscape-inspired work, rather than looking to Polish culture, reflects the influence of modern British artists of the mid-century, such as Graham Sutherland. In a different narrative arc, Topolski, Gotlib and Żuławski each found themselves trapped in Britain with the outbreak of war, unable to return to Poland. Gotlib, with his singular approach to form and colour, created a highly personal vision of England; although he had a degree of critical acclaim, commercial success was limited, particularly at a time when abstraction was in the ascendency. However, his noted self-portrait in a duffel coat was included in a small display at the National Portrait Gallery, London from May to October 2017: Emigrés: Twentieth Century Self-portraits by Artists from Abroad (which also featured works by Josef Herman and Jankel Adler). Piotr Potworowski’s tiny self-portrait provides a similar image of self-reflection; notably, he is the only featured artist who successfully returned to his native Poland (in 1958); after a productive period teaching


at the progressive art school at Corsham Court, he was welcomed in his homeland with a degree of artistic freedom and critical recognition, eventually dying in Poland in 1962. Żuławski, who arrived in Britain in 1936, is represented in the first instance by his landmark poster design: Poland First to Fight, created as a clarion call in 1939, followed by a powerful expressionist work, possibly influenced by his postwar friendship with fellow Polish émigré, Josef Herman. Żuławski’s painting Angler II recalls the solid forms of Herman’s Welsh miners, and the nobility of labour, whilst his magnificent panel for the Garden Café at the 1951 Festival of Britain Homes and Gardens Pavilion (now destroyed) portrayed the British at leisure in the outdoors, in a flattened and simplified style, anticipating his later works. His first wife, Halina Korn, is represented by a poignant small female sculpture, a powerful testimony to her troubled state of mind and the release she found in art, self-taught and supported by her husband. A separate narrative thread highlights Poland’s important contribution to graphic arts, with posters, book designs, illustrations and cartoons. Posters issued by the Polish Army Education Bureau during the war served to educate the British public by highlighting the closeness of the two allied nations, whose armies were depicted ‘hand in hand’. Certainly, the Polish military effort cannot be underestimated, and the Polish Air Force in particular contributed significantly to the success of the Battle of Britain. Support for Polish soldierartists by the new host nation is further evidenced by a catalogue published in autumn 1942 when the progressive Director at Leicester’s Art Gallery devoted an exhibition to Five Polish Soldier Artists from 3 October – 1 November. Posters also recalled the bravery of the Polish wartime resistance in Warsaw, while the striking tribal mask design by W. Szomański is not merely a device used to recommend an exotic trip to Africa but, rather, it documents the relocation of entire Polish communities to east Africa during the war. Striking graphics are at the heart of book cover designs by Illustrator Romek Marber (who died earlier in 2020 and whose works are now held by the design archives at the V&A), children’s stories written and illustrated by the Themersons, and exuberant pop-up books for the very youngest, designed by Jan Pieńkowski. His paper artistry owes something to traditional Polish paper cut-outs, which are still made by illustrator and cartoonist, Andrzej Krauze, who presents powerful drawings from The Guardian newspaper, which need no captions in order to comment wordlessly on our often traumatic, global histories. Contemporary artist, Joanna Ciechanowska lifts the mood with a witty


caricature of our current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, from an ongoing series displayed at Ognisko Polskie in South Kensington and published in the Polish paper, Nowy Czas, created with that 21st century artist’s tool, the iPhone. Ciechanowska and former theatre performer, A M Borkowski, both migrated in the 1980s to escape martial law in Poland, imposed by the communist regime to curtail political opposition. From 1989, with the arrival of democracy, opportunities to study and work creatively opened up, beckoning a new generation, such as Adriana Świerszczek, who came as a postgraduate to study at the Slade. The unexpected topicality of her powerful large-scale drawing, The Abduction of Europa (Ben Uri Collection) could not have been in any way anticipated, as the events leading up to Brexit unfolded. For the youngest artists in the exhibition, arriving since Poland joined the European Union in 2004, in search of educational and creative opportunities not offered at home, as truly European’ citizens, they see no difference between working in Paris, London or Berlin. Maja Ngom, Hanna Puskarz and Maciej Jędrzejewski explore photography and new media, yet return to familiar subjects of migration, identity, home and belonging. Magda Skupińska and Magda Blasińska, both graduates from the Royal College of Art, have different responses to painting – Skupinska is interested in its materiality, using natural substances like chili and cumin, to provide texture and smell as much as colour; Blasińska, brought up on a farm, is concerned with the Polish landscape, folklore and traditional crafts. Gosia Łapsa-Malawska weaves national and personal histories together, highlighting the continuing legacy of the Second World War on subsequent generations of the Polish diaspora. Taken as a whole, running from A-Z – from Adler to Żuławski – some 50 artists in this volume highlight the distinctive, enduring and continuing contribution made to Britain’s visual culture by its largest migrant community. And as a final postscript, it is also noteworthy, that these figures are also now receiving the recognition they deserve in their homeland, as Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz, professor of art history and art critic, gathers in examples of their work and associated archives to create a powerful legacy at the Department of History of Polish Art and Culture in Exile, at Nicolaus Copernicus University, in Toruń.




An Introduction to a Century of Polish Migration to Britain Anne White Professor of Polish Studies and Social and Political Science UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Migration is central to Polish history, but ‘Polish’ migration is hard to define. Shifting state borders and multiple ethnic, religious and linguistic identities within the area which at different historical periods has been labelled Poland have created many variants of Polishness. Nevertheless, Poles have migrated abroad from specific cities, towns and villages, which they have subsequently painted, or described in novels, and with which they connect today by Skype and social media. Despite shifting state borders, wars and the Holocaust, over the centuries these specific places constitute a shared reference point for their former inhabitants. It is often harder to claim that individual migrants came from ‘Poland’. In particular, mass migration in the decades before the First World War occurred while Poland was partitioned between Russia, Austria and Germany. In 1945, the eastern half of Poland was incorporated into the USSR; many Poles stranded in Britain could not return ‘home’ to Poland because their homes were now in the Soviet Union. Britain twice became the most significant destination country for Poles: in the 1940s and after 2004. Nonetheless, in other periods it was also home to migrants from Poland, broadly defined. In the 19th and early 20th centuries these included famous figures such as novelist Joseph Conrad and anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski. Polish Jews first arrived in London in the 18th century; from the 1840s, Jewish migration gathered pace, with perhaps around 210,000 people arriving from Eastern Europe in 1881-1925 (compared with over ten times that number going to the USA). Although cities such as Leeds and Manchester acquired East European Jewish populations, London – and specifically the East End – was the most popular destination: by 1913, it housed 63,000 Russian-Polish Jews. Ethnic Polish exiles from failed nineteenth-century uprisings, the socalled Great Emigration, preferred France; nonetheless, a few thousand found themselves in London, Portsmouth and elsewhere in Britain. They were joined by increasing numbers of labour migrants, some of whom were simply too poor to make the whole journey to the USA. Polish emigration continued apace between the World Wars, though few Poles came to Britain. An exception was the painter Feliks Topolski, who arrived in 1935. During and after the Second World War and Holocaust the situation changed dramatically. In 1940, the Polish government-in-exile evacuated from France to London, where it remained until its dissolution in 1991. Polish pilots famously helped achieve victory in the Battle of Britain; from 1946, they were joined in the UK by thousands of soldiers – including Jews – who had served with the Polish 2nd Corps in Italy, as well as their dependents. Jewish refugees from Poland included several hundred orphans invited by the British government in 1945-6. The government also recruited Displaced Persons


from camps in continental Europe to plug gaps in the labour force. As a result, the 1951 census showed that the Polish-born population had leapt to 162,000. After the Thaw in 1956, visits in both directions became possible, with wives and fiancées coming to settle in the UK. Nonetheless, the number of Polish-born residents steadily declined. The UK was hardly touched by successive waves of emigration from Poland during the communist period, such as the 1968 expulsion of most remaining Polish Jews; sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (and father of artist, Lydia Bauman), who finally settled in Leeds, was a notable exception. However, after the end of the communist regime, London began to acquire a reputation among young Poles as an exciting place to live and work. Migration particularly accelerated shortly before 2004, on the eve of EU accession. Graduate unemployment in Poland was high, and a new generation of school-leavers had studied English rather than Russian at school. At the end of 2004, there were about 150,000 Polish nationals staying in Britain. By 2011, the census recorded some 579,000 Polish-born people living in England and Wales, and by 2016 Labour Force survey data suggested a number of nearly one million. The rapid increase can largely be explained by a network effect: Poles quickly began to bring their children to be with them, and to invite their siblings and friends to join them. Despite originally open-ended plans, many began to settle, particularly as they acquired regular jobs outside the migrant sector, and children started school. It might seem that these various migration waves, so closely associated with specific historical events, share little in common. In particular, there is a contrast between mobility exercised as a right by EU citizens until Brexit and the one-way migration of Jews or Solidarity activists stripped by the communist regime of their Polish citizenship, or earlier heroes of anti-Tsarist uprisings. Poles often distinguish between political émigrés and humbler migration ‘in search of bread’. For Jews, there is a strong perception that, unlike the ethnic Polish peasants, Jews fled Tsarist Russia as refugees. Though most in fact migrated from locations where there were no pogroms, they were inevitably touched by the general atmosphere of fear, as well as actual discrimination. At the same time, Jews were fleeing overpopulation and poverty at home, and in this were not dissimilar to their Christian counterparts. Moreover, both Jews and Christians were similarly responding to invitations extended by family and friends already living abroad.



In fact, the similarities and lines of continuity between the different migration waves are also striking. Migration networks determined and still determine where people go, explaining both why Britain used not to be a popular destination, and why it has been so popular recently. The ‘emigration fever’ which gripped Poles in the late 19th century has its equivalent in the culture of migration characterising many Polish locations today. At the other end of the journey, the rich organisational life of Poles abroad continues to impress. Receiving societies themselves are always in flux, as was the case in late Victorian Britain, or today. This creates dangers for migrants, who can be perceived as threats by the local population: stigmatisation as East Europeans, accusations of stealing British jobs and depressing wages levelled at 19th century Polish Jews have a familiar ring. In all migration waves, most Polish migrants began their careers abroad at the bottom of the social ladder, even if their status had often been very different at home. Nonetheless, social mobility is also an important part of their story, as is (for many) the liberating effect of migration, and the tendency of migrants to reflect on their identities and experiences which helps make migration so productive of art and literature.


From Inhuman Land to Safety: Artists of the Polish II Corps (Anders Army) Wiktor Komorowski Doctoral candidate, Courtauld Institute, London, and curator, specialising in Eastern European Modernism

Polish artists had already marked their place on the British artistic scene long before the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1897 Stanisława de Karłowska (1876-1952) a painter trained at the Cracow Academy of Fine Art and at the Academie Julian in Paris, settled in London and became a member of the newly-formed and progressive London Group in 1914. Feliks Topolski RA (1907-1989), arrived in London from Warsaw two decades later as an artist-reporter in 1935, engaged by the Polish newspaper Wiadomości Literackie to draw the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Topolski extended his stay in England and eventually became an official war correspondent, covering the conflict on all fronts, from the Battle of Britain to operations in Egypt and Syria. Marek Żuławski (1908-1985) arrived in 1937 and was initially known for his post-impressionist still-lives, whilst Henryk Gotlib (1896-1966), a leading member of the Polish avant-garde ‘Formist’ movement, moved from France to Cornwall in summer 1939. After the fall of France in 1940 a number of Polish artists crossed the Channel following in the footsteps of the Polish Governmentin-exile: painter and writer Halina Korn (née Korngold, 1902-1978), who became the wife of Marek Żuławski, and the filmmakers Franciszka (1907-1988) and Stefan (1910-1988) Themerson belonged to this group. Even though a significant number of Polish artists arrived and settled in Britain before or during the early phases of the war, these migrants did not form a single consolidated Polish artistic community. This situation began to change after 1946, when this rather loosely-connected amalgam of Polish artists, working mostly individually, was joined by a group of soldier-artists of the Polish II Corps (the so-called Anders Army), who had finally reached the safety of Britain from the Soviet ‘Inhuman Land’. The soldier-artists who came with the Polish II Corps, following their commander General Władysław Anders, from the Soviet Union, fuelled the Polish community with productive minds and an unparalleled organisational potential, shaped by the difficulties of the long and arduous path of wartime combat they had faced.

Evacuated from the Inhuman Land The story of the Polish II Corps can be traced back to the first two years of the Second World War, when victims of Soviet deportations from occupied Poland were sent to labour camps in Siberia. Amongst them was Józef Czapski, a Polish artist, author, and critic, who was conscripted at the beginning of the war. For almost two years he was held in prison camps at Starobelsk, Pavlishchev Bor and Gryazovets, before finally escaping. Czapski was among the very few officers to survive the Katyń massacre of 1940, when the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police, 1934-1946) murdered 22,000 Polish army officers and members of the intelligentsia. On 2 September 1941, Czapski joined General Anders’ newly-formed army and was ordered to investigate the fate of the Polish officers who had been detained and executed by the NKVD in the forests of Katyń. He recorded his


search for the victims of the Stalinist atrocity in a book entitled Na nieludzkiej ziemi (In an Inhuman Land, 1949), which also provided information about the release of many thousands of Poles from the Soviet Gulags and of the formation of the Polish Army on Soviet territories, following the signing of the Sikorski-Mayski Agreement on 30 July and 14 August 1941. The Sikorski-Mayski Agreement enabled the Polish military establishment to create the Polish Army in the Soviet Union. On 11 August 1941, this task was entrusted to General Anders, who had been appointed – not without reservations – by Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army, Władysław Sikorski. Anders, who had just been released from the notorious Lubyanka prison in Moscow, realised that the Polish Army, which was growing very fast, was facing inevitable Soviet liquidation. However, Stalin was determined to reduce the number of Polish divisions from seven to three, plus a reserve regiment, and to send the excess men back to the collective farms, mines or labour camps. Czapski described this sense of insecurity that dominated the formation of the Anders Army in his book: ‘The news that Poles would be evacuated from the Soviet Union led to increased numbers of Poles flocking to the Polish camps in Turkestan. The flood of Poles which had been rolling like a torrent from north to south, setting towards us from the remotest kolkhozes and camps, grew even larger. Innumerable civilians, women, old men, children, all of them emaciated as skeletons, began to swell our Divisions[...]only kept going by the hope that they might, perhaps, be able to get out of Soviet Russia in the wake of the Polish troops.’ After the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in August–September 1941, on 18 March 1942 Stalin agreed to evacuate the first group of Polish forces across the Caspian Sea to the Iranian port of Pahlavi. The second group of soldiers and civilians was transferred by the end of August from Ashgabat, in Turkmenistan to Mashhad in Iran. Thousands of former Polish prisoners, including women and children, had to walk from the southern border of the Soviet Union to Iran. Many did not survive the hardships of the journey and died en route from cold, hunger and exhaustion. The cavalcade was also joined by soldiers of Jewish origin and groups of Jewish children – war orphans – who sought protection from Jewish soldiers. After arriving in Tehran, these children were transferred to the care of emissaries who brought them to Palestine. Many Jewish soldiers also chose to remain, after reaching Palestine. About 79,000 soldiers and 37,000 civilians were evacuated from the Soviet Union. The military unit was eventually transferred to the operational control of the British government and was placed under the British Middle East Command. It was just a short stop on a long road for the II Corps. The Anders’ Army was then sent to fight in the


Italian Campaign, which included the victorious siege of the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino, which finally broke the Gustav Line and opened the route to Rome for the Allied Forces. This battle became a symbol of the struggle of the Polish II Corps, and was immortalised by Feliks Konarski in a military song Czerwone Maki nad Monte Cassino (Red Poppies on Monte Cassino) which was popularised via the stage performance of Adam Aston, a Polish soldier-singer and actor of Jewish origin, who served in the Anders’ Army. Following the victory at Monte Cassino, the II Corps continued its march through Italy. In May 1944, the II Corps fought in the Battle of Ancona during Operation Olive Gothic Line and, in March 1945, in the Battle of Bologna during the final offensive in Italy. Following the end of the war, divisions of the Corps were stationed in Italy until 1946. Finally, they were transported to Britain and demobilised, where the majority of the almost 105,000 soldiers remained in exile and found new homes.

Artwork in a Soldier’s Rucksack This long journey inspired General Anders to think about the education of his soldiers. As early as 1942 he took the decision to establish The Centre of Culture and Education, responsible for preparing his men for a return to everyday life after the war. In this role, the unit aimed to help soldiers-artists such as Tadeusz Wąs, Zygmunt Turkiewicz and Tadeusz Znicz-Muszyński by organising special exhibitions of their works. In autumn 1945 thirty-six Polish soldiers and officer-artists were accepted to study at Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. Among them were some of the artists who were later active in Britain, such as Ryszard Demel, Leon Piesowocki and Alexander Werner. Others attended the School of Painting in Cecchignola near Rome, organised and run by Marian Bohusz-Szyszko (1901-1995), a painter educated in Vilnius and Cracow, with experience of teaching art before the war. In 1946, these two groups, with the remainder of the Polish II Corps, completed their service in Italy and, in November 1946, finally arrived in Scotland. In early 1947, Polish student artists were transferred to a Polish Resettlement Camp in Waldingfield near Sudbury in Suffolk where, in July 1947, Bohusz-Szyszko, with help of graphic designer Wojciech Jastrzębowski (the former Rector of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts) and architect Romuald Nowicki, recreated his school of painting under the new name of Studium Malarstwa i Grafiki Użytkowej (School of Painting and Graphic Design). Among its first 23 students were artists who arrived with Bohusz-Szyszko from Italy, including Ryszard Delmel (born 1921), Tadeusz Beutlich (1922-2011), Kazimierz Dźwig (1923-94), Jan Marian Kościałkowski (1914-1977) and Znicz-Muszyński. At the end of the year the school moved to Kingwood Common, near Reading, and then to London.


Tadek Beutlich MBE (1922 – 2011) Rome (Untitled), 1946 Ink on paper. The Estate of Tadek Beutlich

Many Polish art students were aided by scholarships towards studying at British art schools. With the help of special funds from the British Interim Treasury Committee for Polish Questions, some managed to enrol in art institutions in London. A significant group studied at Sir John Cass Technical College, the School of Art and Crafts in the City of London (including Stanisław Frenkiel and Danuta Głuchowska). Others enrolled at Borough Polytechnic (Janina Baranowska, Danuta Gierc and Danuta Piesakowska), the Slade School of Art (Andrzej Bobrowski, Stefan Knapp, Jan Lubelski and Jan Wieliczko) and at the Central School of Art (Wanda Garland). Life in this new reality was difficult for many, not only because of everyday hardships, but also due to the loss of social status. Neither the British nor the political establishment in Poland were interested in recognising the war effort of the II Corps and its artists. Many struggled financially, unable to find permanent employment. The continuing search for aesthetic recognition and social acceptance was reflected by a number of community initiatives organised by the artists of the II Corps themselves. In 1948 a short-lived Związek Młodych Plastyków (Young Artists Association) was created. Ex-pilot Stefan Knapp became its Chairman, while its membership consisted of artists who had studied at the Academy in Rome, as well as students of Bohusz-Szyszko’s school of painting. In spring 1949, the 14 leading artists, interested in a more progressive and modern approach, founded a new group called Grupa 49 (Group 49). Among its members were Tadeusz Beutlich, Ryszard Demel, Kazimierz Dźwig, Stanisław Frenkiel, Marian Kościałkowski, Leon Piesowocki, Aleksander Werner and others. During the ten years of its existence it presented the works of 20 artists in various locations, ranging from the Polish YMCA Club to the newly established Grabowski Gallery in South Kensington. Grupa 49 was then incorporated into a new, broader entity: The Association of Polish Artists in Great Britain (Zrzeszenie Polskich Artystów Plastyków w Wielkiej Brytanii). Its first exhibition took place from 5 February - 3 March 1959 at the Grabowski Gallery. From then onwards, the Polish artistic environment in London rapidly developed.


Home, but not Homeland The soldier-artists of the II Corps had a key impact on the formation and energising of Polish artistic circles in postwar Britain. The artists swiftly managed to consolidate their efforts and established a well-developed network of contacts, which brought several Polish cultural institutions and galleries to life, such as the Grabowski Gallery, Drian Gallery and Centaur Gallery. The Anders Artists were certainly a colourful group of individuals, whose talents were not limited to the visual arts; many performed on stage or wrote for newspapers. The artists represented a combination of two important traditions through their works: they were influenced by the Colourists (a group of Polish painters who admired colour and advocated the technical development of artistic skills), while their war experience made them aware of more existential motifs. This combination is particularly discernible in the exaggerated figures painted by Frenkiel, whilst the influence of London artistic circles can be found in the early work of Janina Baranowska, a pupil of David Bomberg at Borough Road, who understood abstract painting as a therapeutic process. A search for experimentation with a modern and progressive way of painting was presented in the semi-abstract compositions of Tadeusz Znicz-Muszyński. At the same time, Adam Kossowski and Marian Bohusz-Szyszko focussed on religious topics; the latter using a thick impasto saturated with colour, which drew freely on the Colourist tradition. But there was no one common artistic style that linked these artists, rather they were bound by the shared life experience of the Anders Army. Even though the majority found safe haven in Britain, a sense of longing and anxiety informed their postwar life. Adam Kossowski on his way to his new home wrote: ‘But I felt especially happy, for here, in spite of everything which had happened, I was sailing to England, where my wife and many friends waited for me, and where I hoped to see whether after three years of varied adventures and an almost complete cessation of artistic work I could succeed in taking up my painting again. Throughout the journey […], my English friend Freddie assured me that we would get safely through England. And so we did. But shall I find a friend to give me the same assurance when we begin the last part of our long journey, from Britain to Poland?’ Today, the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, with the exhibition A Century of Polish Artists in Britain has become a temporary home for the artworks of a number of the soldier-artists; a home that welcomes Anders’ artists but also incorporates the story of the art of the exiled within its own history. The gallery, in a similar way to the artists of the II Corps, was itself a wandering ‘exile’, relocating from one premises to another in search of a home. The stories of the soldier-artists and the story of the Ben Uri Gallery cause us to reflect upon the constant longing for a homeland by those who face exile, and reminds us that, for many, the word ‘home’ does not always mean ‘homeland’.



The Outsiders: Polish-Jewish Refugees in Post-war Britain David Herman TV arts and talks producer and freelance writer based in London

My father, the artist Josef Herman, was a Polish Jewish refugee from Warsaw. During his early years in Britain his closest friends included a number of fellow Polish refugees – artists, poets, filmmakers. These friendships tell us something surprising about the larger migration of refugee writers and artists, especially from Poland and eastern Europe. They tell us something important about exile, about the refugees who came to Britain in the mid-20th century and about finding a voice as a refugee artist. My father escaped to Britain after the Fall of France in 1940. Soon after he arrived, he met the Yiddish poet, Itzik Manger, whom he had known in Warsaw. In order to improve his English, Manger tried translating Shakespeare’s sonnets into Yiddish. When Manger died, my father recalled how on a late summer’s night in 1943, he came across him at Edgware Road tube station seeking refuge from the Blitz. Manger was ‘hunched over his small leather suitcase’, which he carried with him wherever he went. It contained all his worldly possessions: his manuscripts. He sat on the escalator with ‘a fantastically thick English-German dictionary, printed in very small type […] The exercise was to find a German equivalent to the English word, and then to find from memory a Yiddish equivalent to the German.’ ‘No one is as lonely as a Yiddish poet,’ Manger would say. After London, my father went to Glasgow, where he met up with another Jewish refugee he knew from Poland, the artist Jankel Adler. In Glasgow, Adler gave my father a painting. It was a strange painting, dark, two shaven-headed figures staring out at you. On the back of the painting it said, Two Orphans. The International Red Cross had just contacted my father in Glasgow and told him that his family had been murdered by the Germans in Warsaw. Adler was one of ten children. He already knew that they and his parents had been killed by the Germans in Poland. He painted this picture, Two Orphans, for my father. They were the two orphans. While he was in Glasgow my father painted and drew Jewish themes: his family, Jewish peasants and shepherds, gossiping women, storytellers, beggars, fiddlers and musicians. He illustrated, from memory, stories by Peretz and Sholem Aleichem, and poems and tales by Yiddish poets like Manger and Avram Reisen. A few times the elegiac glow is disrupted by very different images, drawings of pogroms. One might call the subject-matter and tone, Chagall-esque. The Jewish world he recreated is like something out of Roman Vishniac’s photos or The Fiddler on the Roof. But above all it is like Chagall. His biographer, the art critic and historian Monica BohmDuchen, is surely right when she says, ‘there is nothing remotely like them in the history of art in Britain.’


Writing about these drawings over 30 years later, my father noted, ‘Today, after so many years, I look at these drawings and paintings as though they were done by someone else [my emphasis]. But deep down I know that they are part of me, a memory of memories, my childhood, people, theatre, stories, life; they all evoke nostalgia; and this nostalgia is the background to all my work in Glasgow in 1940-43.’ He never produced anything similar again. The Jewish subject-matter of these drawings disappeared from his work. He never again depicted his family. More surprising, the very existence of this work vanished almost without trace. The drawings and paintings of Jewish life which dominated his work in Glasgow vanished for over forty years and were not widely available to the public until the Memory of Memories exhibition of 1984-85. No one knew about them. They vanished. Josef did not talk or write about them. He referred to them in his memoir, Related Twilights (1975) but they took up only three paragraphs. They are barely mentioned in any of the books about his work from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s when his reputation was at its height. They were not bought by public collections. Instead, he painted universal images of miners and workers, with no trace of Jewishness, no echoes of Poland, no reference to migration, displacement or loss. These became the pictures my father was best known for. Universal not Jewish. During these years, he met up with another Yiddish poet, AN Stencl. Stencl was born in Poland and moved to Weimar Berlin in 1921, where he started his literary career. He came to London in 1936. Like my father, he was trying to make a new life in a strange country. He lived for over forty years in Whitechapel, where he published his poems, over twenty books and his journal, Loshn un Lebn. What do these stories of Jewish poets and artists tell us about the larger wave of refugees who came to Britain during the mid-20th century? The history of these Jewish refugee artists is a curious one, much stranger than we realise. In the decades immediately after the war, there was largely silence about this great exodus. Then when cultural and intellectual historians started to write about these refugees their story was dominated by two themes. First, there was a story of success and triumph. Nobel Prize winners, great writers, artists, scientists and filmmakers. Figures like Arthur Koestler, Lucian Freud and Ernst Gombrich, Max Perutz and Ernst Chain, Eric Hobsbawm, Emeric Pressburger and Frank Auerbach. Second, it was a story forged in German-speaking central Europe, Berlin and Vienna, not in Warsaw or Łódź.


What has slowly started to happen in the last twenty years is that both these stories have started to be challenged. We have begun to realise that this was never simply a story of achievement and success. There was another story, darker and more complicated. We have also started to realise, especially since east Europe emerged out of the deep freeze of the Cold War, that refugees from east Europe also made their contribution. Some became well-known: Polish refugees like the artist, Felix Topolski, the Nobel Prizewinning physicist, Joseph Rotblat, the pianist Natalia Karp (wife of Josef Karpf). Others struggled to make their name against overwhelming odds. My father and his fellow PolishJewish refugees were outsiders in many ways. Think of Yiddish poets like Itzik Manger and A.N. Stencl, who was prepared to read or translate Yiddish poetry in mid-20th century London? Think of Manger ‘hunched over his small leather suitcase’ at Edgware Road tube station. ‘No one is as lonely as a Yiddish poet.’ Or the expressionist artists from central and east Europe who came from the mainstream of central European painting to the margins of British art. When my father died, among his papers I came across a letter from the widow of the Polish artist, Henryk Gotlib, begging my father to help arrange an exhibition for Gotlib, by then a neglected artist. Gotlib’s Wikipedia entry is succinct, ‘As a figurative artist, he was largely neglected after the rise in popularity of abstract expressionism in the 1950s, and his final years were shadowed by depression, which is reflected in the sombre canvases from this period.’ When my father came to Britain in 1940, he started out drawing and painting Jewish subjects. But if he had continued with such subject matter who would have bought such pictures, forty years before the re-discovery of the Holocaust and Jewish culture, before klezmer and Yiddish became fashionable? In post-war Britain it seemed a remote world. In his book, Art in Exile: Polish Painters in Post-War Britain (2008), Douglas Hall wrote, ‘Poland seemed a remote and deeply unfamiliar country […] Very little was known of Polish history or culture.’ Jewish Poland was even further away. All these artists and writers were not just refugees, dealing with displacement and exile, cut off from their native languages, networks and familiar streets. A German artist like Ludwig Meidner or a writer like Bertolt Brecht could return to Germany after the war. But a Polish artist or writer? What was there to return to? Jewish Poland was destroyed. And after the Communist takeover, for forty years returning to east Europe meant Soviet dictatorship. In 1949 Henryk Gotlib accepted an invitation to be a Professor in the Academy of Fine Art in Cracow. He returned disillusioned after one year.


Worse still, of course, was the personal loss. My father lost his family. Adler lost his parents and siblings. Many artists in the Ben Uri exhibition survived Nazi camps or the Gulag. The Polish-Jewish artist and filmmaker, Mira Hamermesh, grew up in Łódź. She and her siblings escaped but her parents died during the war. In her memoir, The River of Angry Dogs (2004), she wrote about going to the Academy Cinema on Oxford Street in the 1959 to see Generation, a film by the Polish director, Andrzej Wajda. ‘Throughout the film,’ she wrote, ‘I had to push my fist into my mouth to muffle the sobs, overcome with a belated sense of loss. I had to suppress an urge to howl like an injured animal.’ She leaves the cinema, and wanders, lost, through the rainy streets: ‘The film, Generation, had torn open old wounds […] It exploded my defence system, a makeshift survival kit devised to release me from my accountability to the dead.’ Hamermesh later went to the Polish Film School. Her graduation film was an astonishing work about Soviet POWs on the Eastern Front. It is unthinkable that she could have been commissioned to make such a film in 1950s Britain. There were no parts for Jack Hawkins or Kenneth More, no heroism or cheeky chappies. It could only have been made by an East European film director. The silence about the Holocaust in post-war Britain must have been deeply oppressive for Jewish-Polish refugees. It was not broken until the 1970s and ‘80s. It is no coincidence that my father ‘discovered’ his long-lost drawings of Jewish life in Poland at this time. Not only were these Polish-Jewish refugees a minority in post-war Britain, they were a minority within two other minorities. Jewish Poles were part of the Polish community but brought up speaking Yiddish, they didn’t speak the same language, let alone have the same religion. Polish and east European refugees were also a minority among European refugees. They were Yiddish-speaking Ostjuden, separated by class and by geography. Think of Stefan Zweig’s memories of Jewish Galicia during World War I. It seemed a different planet to someone brought up in haute bourgeois Vienna. What made it even harder was that few of these refugees had any institutional base. Many of the great success stories of post-war refugees came from the Warburg, Oxford and Cambridge colleges, the Institute of Psychoanalysis or the BBC. It was possible to build networks and gain recognition in such institutions, to find like-minded colleagues with similar experiences. None of the Polish-Jewish refugees I have mentioned found a home in such institutions. They were deeply alone apart from the networks they were able to create for themselves. Think of how hard it was for the writer and biographer, Isaac


Deutscher to find a university post in Britain. What kind of an institution would open its doors to Yiddish poets or artists like Gotlib and Adler, well into their forties when they came to Britain? The younger refugees did better. They learnt English more quickly, adapted more thoroughly. My father was more than twenty years younger than Gotlib, fifteen years younger than Stencl. Hamermesh was younger still (born 1923), so she could make a career in the new world of British television. It is no coincidence that many of the bestknown Poles who came to Britain were barely 30 when war broke out: Jacob Bronowski, Joseph Rotblat and Topolski (all born 1908), Josef Herman and Natalia Karp (born 1911), the psychoanalyst, Hanna Segal (born 1918). To arrive young and unencumbered was an advantage. How could you feed children or support a wife or parents if you were a struggling artist or poet? In a recent book about Isaac Deutscher’s rivalry with Isaiah Berlin, David Caute writes about how Berlin blocked Deutscher’s application for a chair at Sussex University. He does not mention that the reason the job mattered so much to the freelance writer, was that he had a vulnerable son to support. It is worth comparing the situation of these refugees and Holocaust survivors like Shmuel Dresner and Alicia Melamed Adams (the last surviving pupil of Bruno Schulz), with a much earlier generation – immigrant artists like Leopold Pilichowski, Alfred Wolmark, Moshe Oved and Mark Wayner, or the cartoonists and illustrators George Him and Ralph Sallon, all featured in the exhibition. Many of these arrived young, as children or teenagers. They were part of a larger wave of Jewish immigrants who began to find their voice at the turn of the century. They arrived in peacetime, not during or just after a traumatic war. Above all, despite their undoubted hardship, they did not lose their families, the world they had grown up in, all destroyed by the Nazis. Compare my father’s painting, Refugees, Adler’s Two Orphans or the work of Dresner and Halter with the domestic interiors of Wolmark or the cartoons of Sallon. They are from a different world. Britain offered safety and tolerance to the later refugees. There were the possibilities of recognition and acclaim, especially during the booming years of the Fifties and Sixties, when art buyers had money to spend and dealers on Cork Street could afford to take risks on little-known artists. Some, like my father and Mira Hamermesh, could assimilate, at the price of abandoning Jewish subjects. Others who couldn’t or wouldn’t change, Polish Yiddish poets and expressionist artists, were the real outsiders and their stories are only now starting to be told.



Polish Artists and The London Group David Redfern Artist, and archivist of The London Group since 2003

Ben Uri and The London Group have enjoyed a close relationship, none more so than during Ben Uri’s exhibition Uproar! in 2013. Celebrating The London Group’s centenary, this important show featured works by members across its first fifty year period, from 1913-63. Whilst Ben Uri has supported émigré artists from ‘Polish soil’ since its own foundation in 1915, The London Group has also continued to nurture a small group of painters with similar origins. The London Group is an artists’ cooperative and exhibiting society which came into being as an extension of the Camden Town Group, incorporating the Fitzroy Street Group and a number of independent artists, including David Bomberg and Jacob Epstein, also important figures in Ben Uri’s early years. The Camden Town Group did not allow women artists to join, but The London Group actively encouraged female participation, with seven admitted as Founder Members: Jessie Etchells, Reneé Finch, Sylvia Gosse, A.H. ‘Nan’ Hudson, Thérèse Lessore, Ethel Sands and Polish-born, Stanisława de Karłowska (1876-1972). Stanisława was married to The London Group’s first Treasurer, Robert Bevan; having met at a wedding in Jersey, the couple spent the early years of their marriage in Poland. Current London Group member, Tim Craven, recounts that communication between Robert and his Polish father-in-Law was difficult; they had to converse in Latin. In London, the couple lived in Swiss Cottage whose street scenes provided Stanisława with much of her subject matter. Appositely, her work in Uproar! was a local scene titled Swiss Cottage, painted in 1914 and loaned to the exhibition by Tate. She was an utterly loyal member, showing a total of 144 works in Group exhibitions every year, over a period from 1914 until the outbreak of the Second World War, a record hardly to be matched. In these exhibitions she shared wall space with other prominent female Group members, including Vanessa Bell, Jessica Dismorr, Nina Hamnett, Edna Manley and Eileen Agar. The Second World War saw the election to the group of Henryk Gotlib (1890-1966), from the second wave of émigrés, who fled Nazi persecution, or were unable to return to Poland as a result of German and Russian occupation. Augustus John; Czech émigré, Oscar Kokoschka (both Honorary Members); and German émigré, Fred Uhlman, were all elected at this time, demonstrating how the Group’s membership adapted during the conflict. In the Group’s Fifth War-time Exhibition, held at the Royal Academy in 1943, Gotlib exhibited Mickiewicz Returns to Cracow, a subject affirming Polish national identity when its government was in exile in Britain, asking a staggering £1,050 purchase price. (Gotlib, Bomberg and Uhlman all asked significant prices for their war-time work.) The painting was in fact the left wing of his major work, the Polish War Triptych, a ‘valedictory tribute’ to the Polish nation, and never exhibited in its complete form in Britain. The right wing, Stabat Mater, was shown under the Group’s auspices in 1944, and the whole


triptych was given to the National Museum in Warsaw in 1948, though not exhibited for many years. The same year Gotlib served on the Group’s Working Committee with, amongst others, Bomberg, Duncan Grant, Victor Pasmore and Claude Rogers, and was ‘in reserve’ for the Hanging Committee - elected members who selected work from an open submission for the Group’s renowned annual exhibitions. Perhaps the highlight of his time with the Group came in 1964 when he was included in The London Group Jubilee Exhibition, 1914-64, Fifty Years of British Art held at the Tate Gallery, where he showed The Lake painted in 1958, and was considered for the purposes of the exhibition to be ’British’. Gotlib also exhibited with the Group at the Art Federation Galleries, Suffolk Street, in 1965, still asking one of the highest prices in the exhibition for his oil Girls Among Olive Trees. In 1967 the catalogue foreword to London Group ’67 at the Royal Institute Galleries in Piccadilly contains a tribute to Gotlib, alongside one to Bernard Adeney, a Founder Member who had also recently died, both probably written by the Group’s President, Andrew Forge. Tadeusz Peter (Piotr) Potworowski (1898-1962) was elected to the Group in 1949, the year he began teaching at the renowned Bath Academy of Art at Corsham, and he remained a member, showing annually, until he returned to Poland in 1958, following a thaw in relations with the West. He had first shown as a selected non-member in The London Group, 1947 Exhibition at the RBA Galleries, exhibiting Red Strips priced at £100 and Three Girls and a Swan at £60. Fellow exhibitors included a number of émigrés and Jewish artists associated with Ben Uri: Stanisława de Karłowska, David Bomberg, Manfred Uhlman, Marek Żuławski, Morris Kestelman, Ernst Eisenmayer, Bernard Meninsky, Hyam Myer, Michael Rothenstein and Henryk Gotlib. In the 1954 Annual Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, he exhibited Newlyn Harbour which, if the paintings were shown in catalogue order, suggests that his work was shown next to the young Patrick Heron, both having close associations with Cornwall. Both artists had their work selected for a touring exhibition to Southampton Art Gallery in early 1955. In the same year Potworowski exhibited at The Octagon in Bath with Paul Feiler, Peter Lanyon and Bryan Wynter, from the renowned St. Ives School of painting (Feiler, a German emigre). Heron, Wynter and Terry Frost joined The London Group in 1952, 1955 and 1957 respectively; perhaps it was London Group contacts that affirmed Peter’s links with St. Ives abstraction. The last painting which he exhibited with the Group was Oval Landscape from Cornwall in the 1958 Annual Exhibition at the RBA Galleries. The catalogue to the 1959 exhibition recorded his membership, but he did not exhibit, now returned to his homeland. Nearly twenty years later, in 1977, Stanisław Frenkiel (1918-2001) was elected to The London Group. He had a distinguished background in education and the arts, and was a member of various bodies, unions and groups, including the Institute of Education. By 1979 Stanisław was involved and active within the Group, seconding the sculptor Jesse


Watkins for the position of Vice President, a post eventually won by the Scottish painter John Bellany by thirteen votes to three. Some correlation can be seen between the works of Frenkiel and Bellany in their painterly and idiosyncratic view of the world. 1984 saw Stanisław serving on the Group’s Working Committee, as his Polish colleagues had previously. He was specifically involved with the organisation of London Group 84, Open Exhibition at the Royal College of Art. Open exhibitions were a combination of members’ and selected non-members’ works chosen from an open submission. The 1984 Open was a vast undertaking, with 49 members and 143 non-members exhibiting. One aspect of these exhibitions, which emerges when one talks to existing members who remember those times, was what tremendous fun they were, ultimately celebrated with a convivial private view! The Group has always liked to mark an anniversary. A black and white photograph shows Stanisław posed with other members following the 80th Anniversary Dinner in 1993 held at the Saatchi Gallery, (coincidentally, then also located in Boundary Road, Ben Uri’s own location). He looks jolly pleased to be there. Current member, Vaughan Grylls, remembers Stanisław at a meeting they both attended, ‘Some VIP civil servant from the government kept referring to Stas as Dr Frenkiel. About the third time this happened, Stas turned on him, clearly cross, and said “Please do stop calling me doctor. I am not a doctor. I am a painter. Thank you.”’ Sławomir Blatton is a current member of the Group, having been elected in 1997. Sławomir is very similar to his predecessors in many ways. He has taught, in his case etching at the Working Men’s College. He is mindful of his duties as a London Group member, regularly turning out to cast his vote at the group’s Annual General Meeting, contributing to discussions at artists’ talks and chatting to colleagues at Private Views, with a glass of wine in his hand. Most important of all, is his contribution to London Group exhibitions by providing fresh work on a regular basis. Even as I was writing this piece in 2017, Sławomir was preparing to take part in The London Group’s Film Night 2 at Highgate’s Literary & Scientific Institution, showing video with nine other digital artists, a thoroughly modern maker. The London Group has always welcomed artists from around the globe, especially those fleeing oppression and lack of opportunity, enabling them to express themselves freely. In this respect Ben Uri and The London Group stand together and will continue to do so.


Catalgoue of Works 39

Alfred Wolmark (1877 Warsaw – 1961 London, England) The Last Days of Rabbi Ben Ezra, 1905 Oil on canvas 185.5 x 318 cm On long term loan to Ben Uri Collection from E Guggenheim and R Guggenheim Migrated to Great Britain 1883

Born to a bourgeois, religious family who eventually settled in London’s East End, an area which housed many Jewish migrants from eastern Europe, Wolmark changed his name to the more Englishsounding ‘Alfred’ around 1894, in the face of antisemitism, whilst studying at the Royal Academy Schools. Encouraged to pursue an artistic career by his parents, unlike many first-generation 40

émigré Jewish artists, he first excelled at Rembrandt-esque history paintings, with predominantly Jewish subjects. The subject of this huge canvas is based on Robert Browning’s poem ‘Rabbi ben Ezra’ (1864), which contradicted conventional ideas about ageing by interpreting the philosophy of the 12th century Hebrew sage, Abraham Ibn Ezra, who greeted old age with eagerness rather than with

depressed resignation, and probably reflecting Browning’s own beliefs. The authentic depiction of Jewish ritual and costume was enhanced by Wolmark’s return visit to Poland in 1903, where he steeped himself in the ‘old ways’. The solemnity of the moment is subtly alleviated by the inclusion of the artist’s own moustachioed self-portrait just above the centre of the painting. 41

Alfred (né Aaron) Wolmark (1877 Warsaw – 1961 London, England) Dreamers of the Ghetto, 1925 Watercolour, pen and ink on paper 30 x 20 cm Ben Uri Collection Purchased with the assistance of Lord Sieff 1935 Migrated to Great Britain 1883

This beautiful and complex watercolour belongs to a series of fourteen book illustrations made by Wolmark to accompany The Completed Works of Israel Zangwill. Zangwill (1864-1926) was the foremost Anglo-Jewish writer of his generation, documenting London’s Jewish East End at the end of the 19th century. Known as the ‘Jewish Dickens’, his best known novel, Children of the Ghetto (1892), vividly described the Whitechapel


slums; he also wrote the play The Melting Pot (1908) which became one of the most successful productions on Broadway, depicting American Jewish immigrant life, and gave rise to the phrase ‘melting pot’, to mean a rich mix of cultures. Both Wolmark and Zangwill were closely associated with Ben Uri from the early 1920s, Zangwill as President in 1922-23, and Wolmark as Vice President for almost a quarter of a century, from 1923-56.


Ernest Borough Johnson (1866 Shropshire, England – 1949 London, England) Portrait of Alfred Wolmark, c. 1915-20 Watercolour and pencil on paper 55 x 33 cm Ben Uri Collection Purchased with the assistance of The J. L. Wine Charitable Trust 2017

This reciprocal portrait captures Wolmark’s distinctive features in middle age, with his round spectacles and wide brimmed hat, and illustrates the strength of creative relationships in the early twentieth century. Although the current whereabouts of Wolmark’s portrait of Borough Johnson is unknown, other reciprocal sitters included the artists Henri Gaudier Brzeska and Horace Brodzky. Wolmark and Johnson were


also linked beyond this work: both were members of the Faculty, an independent cultural organisation which celebrated a broad cross-section of the arts, including painting, commercial art, photography, architecture, printmaking, sculpture, design, drama, literature, music, crafts and even dancing. Founded in London in 1921, its influential and assorted patrons included Israel Zangwill, Sir Henry Wood and G. K. Chesterton. Borough Johnson

studied at the Slade and Herkomer’s Art School at Bushey, taught at the London School of Art and Byam Shaw School, subsequently became Professor of Fine Art at Bedford College and at Chelsea Polytechnic, and wrote on techniques of drawing. Perhaps surprisingly, he was also directly connected with Ben Uri, lending work from his own collection to its first exhibition of works by non-collection, Jewish artists in 1934.

Enrico Glicenstein né Enoch Hendryk (1870 Turek – 1942 New York, United States) Self-Portrait, c. 1921 Etching and drypoint 18 x 14.5 cm Ben Uri Collection Purchased 1921 Migrated to Great Britain 1920

One of the earliest works acquired for Ben Uri’s permanent collection in 1921, this print was included in the first collection exhibition held at 68 Great Russell Street, WC1, opposite the British Museum, in May 1925. The Ben Uri Art Society had gathered in Glicenstein’s honour in April 1921, in advance of an intended exhibition of his work. Minutes in Yiddish from 1 July 1921 recount how the Society agreed to purchase a sculpture entitled Mashiach

(Messiah), but the price was eight thousand lire (Glicenstein having moved to Italy in 1897), and the exchange rate was so poor that it would have cost Glicenstein money. In October 1921 Ben Uri paid an instalment of £50 for Mashiach, and £10 was advanced to the artist to partially fund the transport of work from his studio in Rome; this sum also guaranteed Ben Uri’s choice of a second sculpture for the collection. A significant portfolio of

prints and sketches was also acquired. This Self-Portrait, from the group of works on paper, has a strong, modernist feel, although bony finger-like forms clasp both shoulders, suggesting a dark force, or even the presence of death itself, lurking at the artist’s back.


Enrico Glicenstein né Enoch Hendryk (1870 Turek – 1942 New York, United States) Portrait of Israel Zangwill, 1923 Bronze Height 42 cm Ben Uri Collection Purchased 1925 Migrated to Great Britain 1920

Glicenstein attended yeshiva before studying art in Munich (1890 - 95) moving to Rome in 1897 with his wife, Helena Hirszenberg, and becoming an Italian citizen. With the start of the First World War, Glicenstein returned with his family to Poland. Moving to London, and associated with Ben Uri in the early 1920s, as sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker, Glicenstein also showed at the Royal Academy three times between 1923-25, before settling in America with his son in


1928. His wife and daughter followed in 1935. Glicenstein hoped to visit Palestine, but was killed in a car accident in 1942 before his wish was fulfilled; his son, painter Emanuel Romano, subsequently moved to Safed, one of the holiest cities in northern Israel, where the Glicenstein Museum was established. Glicenstein’s portrait of Zangwill captures the famous Victorian Anglo-Jewish writer (the socalled ‘Jewish Dickens’) as though in mid-discourse, his animated right hand

adding to an overall feeling of vigour and brio. Zangwill was associated with Ben Uri at this time, and the sculpture may well commemorate his Presidency of the Society, a position he held from 1922-23.

Isaac Lichtenstein né Israel (1888 Łódź – 1981 New York, United States) The Blind Fiddler, 1924 Oil on canvas 89 x 63 cm Ben Uri Collection Purchased 1925 Migrated to Paris, France 1911

Lichtenstein studied at Yehuda Pen’s School of Drawing and Painting in Vitebsk, which nurtured the creative talents of Chagall, Zadkine and El Lissitzky. He subsequently attended Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem in 1908, before moving to Paris where, in 1912, he co-founded Machmadim, a group of Jewish artists (mostly eastern European émigrés) who dedicated themselves to depicting Jewish themes within a modern visual vocabulary. This influx of Jewish artists to Paris instigated the term Artistes

Juifs de l’École de Paris / Jewish Artists of the School of Paris. During the First World War Lichtenstein lived in America; in 1918 he served in the Jewish Legion in Palestine, and after the war moved between London, Paris, Poland and the USA. The Blind Fiddler is characteristic of École Juif imagery, fusing a modernist style with traditional subject matter, reminiscent of the shtetl. Lichtenstein was briefly in London in the 1920s where he was associated with Ben Uri, designing the Society’s second logo after the departure

of its founder, fellow émigré, Lazar Berson. Jan Topass wrote of Lichtenstein: ‘He has heard the call of many lands, of different shores – of his native Poland, the Palestine of his fathers, of friendly and hospitable France which has always known how to adopt and to adapt ardent souls, yes, he has been drawn even to distant and cold England’. This work was lent by Ben Uri to the 1927 Whitechapel Art Gallery’s exhibition of ‘Jewish Art and Antiquities’.


Moshe Oved né Edward Goodack, aka Edward Good (1885 Skępe – 1958 London, England) Eastern European Mystic Jew, nd Bronze Height 40 cm Ben Uri Collection Purchased 2016 Migrated to Great Britain 1903

Son of a chazan-shochet, after arriving in London, Good initially worked as a watchmaker in the East End, before founding his own establishment in Bloomsbury, trading in cameos and antique watches. Cameo Corner flourished – David Bomberg designed an advertising poster in 1918 – and eventually the emporium counted the Royal Family amongst its patrons. Good also adopted the Hebrew name, Moshe


Oved. He was strongly aware of his Jewish ancestry and Yiddish culture, and was a founding member of the Ben Uri Art Society, providing finance for a number of important early acquisitions. He published several works in Yiddish, including Aroys fun Khaos (Out of Chaos, 1918). Taking up sculpture in later life, after the trauma of the Second World War, he worked mainly in bronze and brass. A friend of Jacob Epstein, he collected the sculptor’s works

whilst Epstein provided illustrations for Oved’s publications on several occasions; Oved also gifted three Epstein sculptures to Ben Uri. This unusual bronze, reflecting Oved’s own antecedents in Eastern Europe, marks a departure in his sculptural repertoire, primarily known for ritual objects and distinctive jewellery.

Leopold Pilichowski (1866 Piła bei Sieradz – 1934 London, England) The Labourer (Old Man in a Blue Smock), nd Oil on canvas 59.5 x 49 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by the artist 1930 Migrated to Great Britain 1914

Son of a poor Jewish farmer, Pilichowski studied in Munich and Paris, holding his first exhibition in Łódź in 1894. In the mid-1890s he began to address Jewish themes in his work, particularly the poverty of his co-religionists in the cities. This commitment to social commentary led him to depict Jewish immigrants, wanderers and peddlers. In 1904 he moved to Paris and, a decade later, to London, with his wife and children, aided

by Hebrew writer David Frishman. From 1908 Pilichowski was an active Zionist, painting portraits of important figures such as Ahad Ha’am, Hayim Nahman Bialik, and Theodor Herzl - a fine example of the latter features in the Ben Uri collection. He travelled frequently between Paris and Łódź in 1914; returning to London he concentrated on the impoverished Jews of Whitechapel as his subjectmatter. However, in contrast to other works

in the Ben Uri collection which depict Jewish ritual, this gentle portrait evokes a secular life in the countryside and calls to mind similar treatments of agricultural labourers in works by William Rothenstein. Pilichowski’s visit to Palestine in 1925 made a deep impression; in 1927 he lectured the Ben Uri Jewish Art and Literary Society on ‘Palestine As Seen By An Artist’, describing the close connection of ‘the Jewish soul and spirit to the holy city of Jerusalem’.


Lena Pillico (née Goldmann) (1884 Łódź – 1947 Oxford, England) Cottages in the Country, 1932 Oil on canvas 50.5 x 65 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented Migrated to Great Britain 1913

Lena Pillico (she changed her surname to distinguish herself from her artist husband) was a painter and textile designer and wife of Leopold Pilichowski, President of the Ben Uri Art Society, and successor in this role to the distinguished writer, Israel Zangwill. Pillico had established her own reputation during the 1920s, exhibiting at the Whitechapel Gallery’s ‘Jewish Art’ shows in 1923 and 1927, and at the Brooklyn Museum’s ‘Art Exhibition by American and European Artists’ in 1928, showing 29 paintings (including five designs) to 17 by her husband. Notably, she had arranged her own one-woman exhibition in 1927 in her St John’s Wood studio for the ‘Jewish Art & Literary Society Ben Uri’, the first woman, and indeed the first artist, to have a solo show under its auspices. The Ben Uri Collection now also holds two of her colourful textile designs. A contemporary reviewer in the Jewish Chronicle described her designs as ‘decorative’ and ‘in the modern spirit’,


while Pilichowski, by comparison, was seen as ‘considerably more academic and [...] well known in Europe for his portraits and Jewish type pictures’. A fabric pattern designed by Pillico for W. Foxton Ltd. is illustrated in Artwork (October-December 1925). One of the first women to exhibit with the Seven and Five Society in London between 1923-27 (fellow members included Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth), her work was included posthumously in Michael Parkin’s touring exhibition on The Seven and Five Society, 1920-35 (1979-80) held at Atkinson Art Galleries, Southport; Minories, Colchester; National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; and Newlyn Orion Gallery, Penzance. Pillico’s charming countryside scene, despite its English location, nevertheless seems to evoke memories of the rustic Polish landscapes of her earlier life. Examples of her landscape work are also held at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.


Ralph Sallon né Rachmiel David Zelon (Zieluń) (1899 Sceps – 1999 Hertfordshire, England) Portrait of Herbert Morrison, 1940s Watercolour on paper 35.5 x 24 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented Migrated to Great Britain 1904

Fleeing Tsarist persecution, Sallon’s family settled in Whitechapel in 1904, then the centre of the Jewish immigrant community in London. Sallon was called up to military service aged 18 and served in the Pioneer Corps in France during the First World War. He became resident caricaturist on the Jewish Chronicle (the mouthpiece of AngloJewry) in 1930 and freelanced for various newspapers including the Daily Mirror, where he later worked with political


cartoonist, fellow émigré, Victor ‘Vicky’ Weisz, also represented in the Ben Uri collection. Sallon preferred to work from life, but also used photographs to complete his portraits, commenting that a caricature ‘should be an unprejudiced picture - irrespective of any personal, racial, religious or political viewpoints. It should be a fearless representation of that human being which sums up the personality. It should also be factual without being too aggressive – a comment

without cruelty or unkindness’. This likeness of Herbert Morrison, labour politician and grandfather of the current Lord Mandelson, probably dates from Churchill’s 1940 coalition government, when he became Home Secretary and then Minister for Home Security, both positions resonating particularly with the plights of wartime refugees to Britain.

Mark Wayner né Weiner (1888 Łomża – 1980 Saffron Walden, England) Sir William Rothenstein, c.1940 Stone lithograph on paper 35.5 x 24 cm Ben Uri Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1893

Wayner came to London with his émigré parents and displayed an early talent for drawing. He was apprenticed to a German artist before entering the Craft School (linked to the Royal College of Art) and studied at the Slade School from 1909-10. Like Mark Gertler before him, Wayner’s entry to the Slade was assisted by the Jewish Education Aid Society; this also encouraged the Anglo-Jewish poet-painter Isaac Rosenberg to fight for similar charitable support, following his unsuccessful initial application. Wayner

may be considered a less prominent member of the group known as the Whitechapel Boys: first and second generation, Anglo-Jewish émigrés who grew up in or frequented the East End ghetto and who made significant contributions to British modernism. Eventually Wayner established himself as a caricaturist and published two volumes of Celebrities in Caricature (1931, c.1940), depicting individuals from politics and the arts alongside key Jewish figures. Rothenstein, who eventually became

Principal at the Royal College of Art (192035), was born to a German Jewish family in Bradford, studied at the Slade (1888-93) and the Académie Julian in Paris (1889-93), where he met Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Whistler, among others. In the early 1900s both Rothenstein and Alfred Wolmark made important groups of paintings in the East End, depicting religious Jews at prayer in their new neighbourhood.


Jankel Adler né Jankiel (1895 Tuszyn – 1949 Aldbourne, England) Wounded (Portrait of Man in a cap), 1940s Acrylic on paper on board 54.5 x 37 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by Chinita Abrahams-Curiel in memory of her husband Conrad 1994 Migrated to Scotland 1940

Born to a Jewish family, the seventh of ten children, Adler moved to Barmen in Germany in 1914 to study at the Kunstgewerbeschule after early training as an engraver. In 1918-19 he returned to Łódź and was involved in Jung Jidysz, an important artistic group in interwar Poland; a fellow member was Natan Szpigel (1892-1942, who perished in Treblinka and who is also represented in the Ben Uri Collection). In 1920 Adler moved to Berlin, then to Düsseldorf in 1922 to teach at the Academy of Arts where he met Paul Klee, who influenced his work, which often portrayed Jewish subject matter using a modernist vocabulary. From 1933, as a Jew, left-winger and a modern artist, Adler faced increasing persecution under Hitler’s regime. He fled soon after, spending time in Paris, where he was influenced by Picasso, and at Stanley William Hayter’s renowned printmaking studio, Atelier 17. Adler regarded his exile as a conscious political resistance against Germany’s fascist regime. In 1937 the Nazis seized 25 of his works from 54

public collections, four of which were shown in the notorious Entartete Kunst [Degenerate Art] exhibition in Munich, and which then toured in Germany and Austria. With the outbreak of war, Adler volunteered for the Free Polish Army in France, and was eventually demobbed and invalided out in Scotland in summer 1940. He subsequently lived in Glasgow where he first established himself as an artist in Britain, and reconnected with his fellow Polish exile, Josef Herman. Moving to London in 1943, Adler’s artistic career flourished briefly, with significant gallery shows. He died suddenly of heart failure in April 1949, knowing that none of his family had survived, and the day after his request for naturalisation had been declined. Wounded is characteristic of his haunting portraits, fusing an intense memory of tragedy, his Jewish/Polish identity, and modernist influences, reminiscent of Picasso – here a head is both full-view and profile, whilst oversized hands reach out and implore the viewer.



Marthe Hekimi née Marta Szostakowska (1884 Łódź – Teheran, Iran) La Grande Peur du Monde, c. 1940-1944 Oil on canvas 89 x 130.5 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by the artist 1948

Born Marta Szostakowska in Łódź, Hekimi pursued an art career despite family opposition, and finding art teaching in Poland too traditional. She is documented elsewhere in Europe from the 1930s, exhibiting Peintures at Galerie Jeanne Bucher-Myrbor, Paris in 1936; with Max Bill’s Allianz group in the Kunsthaus Zurich in 1942, and with Ben Uri in 1947, in a two-person show with Viennese-born artist, Sophie Korner. The exhibition catalogue states that Hekimi ‘felt an artist of the 20th century should not copy nature’. After marriage to an Iranian diplomat, Hekimi lived in Geneva, Paris, London and Tehran, and there is

evidence of her travelling from France to New York in 1947. She had three children, one of whom perished during the war in circumstances unknown. Her works, such as La Grande Peur du Monde, last exhibited at Ben Uri more than seventy years ago, were characterised by fateful titles and a rhythmic and decorative content influenced by Persian art. In a strange and contemporary twist, Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s right-wing Front National used the words ‘grande peur’ in a speech before her election defeat in May 2017. The term also has roots in the French Revolution, referencing a general panic which occurred between July and August 1789. 57

Josef Herman (1911 Warsaw – 2000 London, England) Refugees, c. 1941 Gouache on paper 60.7 x 53.2 cm Ben Uri Collection Purchased with the kind assistance of the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and Art Fund 2014 via Conor Macklin of the Grosvenor Gallery Migrated to Scotland 1940

Refugees is a rare, important early painting, thought lost for over 60 years. In 1948 Herman destroyed most of his work from this Scottish period, considering it too influenced by Chagall. Blue was the dominant colour of these Glasgow years, used as a nostalgic evocation of a lost Warsaw, with its moonlit spires and snow-filled streets. Like much of Herman’s Glasgow output, this painting draws strongly on his eastern European Jewish heritage and related themes. However, the refugees also represent the wider displacement of peoples uprooted and forced into exile by the upheavals of


the Second World War – and of course continue to have a powerful contemporary resonance. The family’s unknown fate is symbolized by the cat with a bleeding mouse dangling from its jaw. The treatment of the figures reflects Herman’s admiration for the work of Käthe Kollwitz, while the pose of the fearful child with her hand in her mouth is reminiscent of Goya. Ben Uri has now learned that the work was acquired directly in Glasgow from the artist in the early 1940s by Daniel Stewart, who may have known Herman via the leftwing Glasgow Unity Theatre.


Josef Herman (1911 Warsaw – 2000 London, England) Study for ‘In Memory of the Fighters for the Warsaw Ghetto’, 1970s Pen and ink on paper 45.7 x 40.7 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by the Estate of Josef Herman 2017 Migrated to Scotland 1940

In 1942 Hitler decided to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto; shortly after, 300,000 Jews were deported from Warsaw to Treblinka. When reports of the mass killing leaked back to the ghetto, Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (Jewish Fighting Organisation) was established and, led by Mordecai Anielewicz, called for Jews to resist. The uprising began on 19 April 1943, after German troops entered the ghetto


to deport the remaining inhabitants. The fighters held out for almost an entire month. Eventually, 56,065 Jews were captured; 7,000 were deported to Treblinka and the remaining sent to forced labour camps and Majdanek. Owing something to Goya’s Black Paintings, this beseeching woman, with her arms upraised in desperation, symbolises the tragic events, and is a study for a

larger oil version of the same subject. Completed by Herman in later life, the two works mark a rare return to the Holocaust as subject matter.

Josef Herman (1911 Warsaw – 2000 London, England) Tribute to Goya’s Black Pictures (In Memory for the Fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto), 1974 (reworked 1998) Oil on canvas 119.4 x 91.4 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by the Estate of Josef Herman 2017 Migrated to Scotland 1940

In 1938, due to rising antisemitism, Herman fled from Poland to Brussels; following the German invasion of Belgium in 1940, he fled again through France to England, eventually settling in Glasgow. In 1942 he discovered, via the British Red Cross, that his entire family had perished in the Warsaw ghetto. From then onwards, Jewish themes in his art became much darker, referencing pogroms and the

destruction of the ghetto, and forming part of the extensive and moving series he later called Memory of Memories. After moving to London in 1943, with the then-unknown artist, L S Lowry, all Jewish subjectmatter ceased. Herman subsequently became known for his works about Welsh miners, inspired by his time living in the mining village of Ystradgynlais in South Wales from the 1940s, where

he was visited by Marek Żuławski, who shared a common interest in depicting the nobility of labour. This haunting, later painting, executed over more than a decade, marks a return to the long-buried theme of the Holocaust and the tragic fate of both Herman’s own family and of European Jewry.


Shmuel Dresner (1928, Warsaw – 2020, London, England) Pages from Diary of David Rubinowicz, 2005 Collage 27 x 33 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by the artist 2015 Migrated to Great Britain 1945


Dresner was twelve years old when Warsaw’s Jews were forced into the ghetto. After escaping, he was caught and held as a slave labourer at Buchenwald and Theresienstadt camps. Dresner subsequently arrived in Britain as a refugee, sent to recuperate in Windermere in the Lake District with a group of seven hundred children, known as ‘The Boys’ (although girls were part of the cohort) who had all been liberated from the camps at the end of the war. He subsequently spent several years recuperating in sanatoriums where he began to paint. In 1949 Dresner enrolled at London’s Heatherley School of Fine Art, before studying at the Central School of Art in 1953. In 1956 he moved to Paris to attend the André Lhote Academy, all the while searching for a visual ‘language’ in which to respond to

his life experiences. Dresner exhibited extensively between 1955-1981. In this work, the artist avoids direct description or depiction of trauma, instead alluding to destruction through torn and burnt pages, while also referencing the Burning of the Books, authorised by the Nazis and which took place in Berlin on 10 May 1933. The subject of this work, David Rubinowicz, was born in Poland in 1927, and was almost an exact contemporary of the artist. Rubinowicz began writing a diary around 1940, documenting his experiences as a persecuted Jew. His last entry records his joy at seeing his father again (he had been held in a labour camp). Three and a half months later, Rubinowicz was transported to Treblinka where he perished. Dresner’s artwork is also represented in the Imperial War Museum, London.

Josef Karpf (1900 Jasło – 1993 London, England) Still Life with Skull, nd Oil on board 37 x 50 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by Mrs Natalia Karp, the artist’s widow 1994 Migrated to Great Britain 1947

Karpf was born in what became south eastern Poland and, after studying in Vienna, returned to manage his father’s business. Following the outbreak of war in 1939 and the occupation of Poland, Karpf was sent to labour camps in Siberia, but survived, thanks to his draughtsmanship, which impressed his captors. After the war he met Natalia Weissman, an acclaimed concert pianist. Natalia had survived Płaszów concentration camp after Amon Goeth, the infamous commandant, ordered her to play for his birthday. She was subsequently deported to Auschwitz with her sister, Helena, but also miraculously survived. Despite his early passion for art, studying at night school in Vienna, Karpf graduated in economics after the early death of his father, becoming an advisor to the

Polish government in exile in London, where he and Natalia sought asylum in 1950. Although Karpf had to earn a living through his printing business, run in partnership with fellow émigré, Rafael Scharf (1914-2003, one of the founders of the publication Jewish Quarterly), he nevertheless continued to create art throughout the remainder of his life in Britain. Still Life with Skull is a powerful memento mori, acknowledging the personal trauma suffered by his wife and the tragic fate of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.


Josef Karpf (1900 Jasło – 1993 London, England) Auschwitz, c.1970s Bronze resin 20.5 x 28 x 10 cm Private Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1947


This relief sculpture resonates deeply, both in the personal and universal sense of memorial. In 1950 Karpf returned to Poland only to discover that 120 members of his family had perished in the Holocaust. His wife Natalia, sent to a succession of camps, including Auschwitz, with her sister, miraculously survived by playing the piano. She was able to resume her career as a concert pianist, under the name ‘Natalia Karp’, when she settled in London with her husband after the war. This sculpture, with its writhing mass of human forms, has evocations of works by Boris Saktsier and Natan Rapoport, both of whom created moving memorials for Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, publicly commemorating victims of the Holocaust.

Roman Halter (1927 Chodecz – 2012 London, England) 74 Chodecz and Dorset, c. 2000 Watercolour and ink on paper 23 x 33 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by the Halter family Migrated to Great Britain 1945

Confined by the Nazis to the Chodecz ghetto with his family, Halter worked in the metal factory, where he learned skills which he would reprise in his later stained glass practice. In 1942, his father and grandfather died of starvation. Subsequently, he, his mother, his halfsister and her two children were sent to be exterminated at Chełmno, but

Halter escaped en route. In 1944, Himmler ordered the liquidation of the Łódź Ghetto; Halter was then among thousands transported in cattle trucks to Auschwitz, where he remained for ten days, witnessing prisoners committing suicide by throwing themselves against electrified fences. These scenes would later reverberate in his art. Remarkably, Halter survived to rebuild a life in England after the war, qualifying as an architect and establishing practices in London and Cambridge. In 1973 he moved to Israel, where he designed the gates to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. Returning to London in 1976, he became a full-time artist, creating a unique body of memorial stained glass art – often controversial – embracing both figuration and near abstraction. Much of the imagery is informed by Halter’s painted cartoons,

a number of which are now held by the Imperial War Museum, following a policy shift to admit artworks commemorating the Holocaust, though made after the event. From 2000, Halter began to recall nightmares with great clarity and created a series of watercolours, juxtaposing horrific experiences he had witnessed in occupied Poland, with views of the idyllic Dorset countryside, near his daughter’s home, each combined scene identified by date and location. In 2006 Halter returned to Poland with the distinguished journalist and film-maker, Fergal Keane, who movingly recorded the visit to Chodecz for a BBC documentary. In 2014, after Halter’s death, Ben Uri curated the first exhibition devoted to Halter’s glass work: Life and Art Through Stained Glass: Roman Halter 1927-2012.


Alicia Melamed Adams née Goldschlag (b. 1927 Borysław (Drohobycz), Poland – lives in London, England) Tears, 1993 Mixed media 80 x 63 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by the artist 1993 Migrated to Great Britain 1948

After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Jewish population of Drohobycz was forced into a ghetto. Alicia’s brother Josef was taken to Janowska, a forced-labour camp, where he died in 1942. Alicia and her parents survived in the ghetto, but in July 1943 were arrested and her parents were shot; Alicia was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust. She met fellow survivor Adam Melamed in Warsaw; in 1946 the couple married and moved to Britain after two years in Paris. She enrolled at St Martin’s School of Art and in 1963 produced a series of works commemorating her family’s fate. Much of Melamed Adams’ work does not directly address her Holocaust experiences; 66

however, Tears powerfully reflects a desire to unburden herself from the pain. Melamed-Adams is the last surviving student of Bruno Schulz (1892-1942), Jewish-Polish writer, artist and art teacher. In 1941 Schulz was one of thousands of Jews forced into the Drohobycz ghetto by the Nazis, most of whom perished in Belzec extermination camp. Gestapo officer, Felix Landau, admired Schulz’s artwork and offered him protection in exchange for painting a mural in his house (which has recently been recreated in a contemporary installation project); a year later Schulz was murdered by a Gestapo officer who had a vendetta against Landau.

George Him né Jerzy Himmelfarb (1900 Łódź – 1981 London) Israel and the World Powers, c. 1956 Coloured pencil on paper Ben Uri Collection 32.7 x 30 cm Donated by Agi Katz Migrated to Great Britain 1937

Him studied Roman Law in Moscow, and then completed a PhD in the history of religion in Bonn, before attending Leipzig Academy for Graphic Art in 1924, and completing his first creative commission in 1926. He helped establish KAGR, the Circle of Advertising Graphic Artists, and formed a partnership with fellow Pole Jan LeWitt in 1933, the year he anglicised his name. The Lewitt-Him partnership lasted for twenty years (1933-54), relocating from Warsaw to London prior to the outbreak of war, following interest from the publisher Lund Humphries and visa support from the Victoria & Albert Museum. As with many émigré designers, Him worked during the war for the Ministries of Information, Food and War,

producing public information posters. Postwar, he worked on the exhibition ‘Britain can make it’ (1946) and the Festival of Britain (1951), producing murals for the Education Pavilion and designing the Festival Clock at the Pleasure Gardens in Battersea Park. Following the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, Him was active on projects connected with Israel and Jewish culture, designing the ‘Warsaw Ghetto’ exhibition in 1961 and the ‘Masada’ exhibition which toured internationally and which was seen by around 750,000 visitors. His advertising campaign for Schweppes: ‘County of Schweppshire’, in collaboration with Stephen Potter, was in British periodicals for 15 years in 1950s-60s. Him was appointed Fellow of

the Society of Industrial Artists, Fellow of the Society of Typographical Designers, and a Royal Designer for Industry in 1978. Three retrospective exhibitions of his work have been held: one in 1976 at the London College of Printing, another in 1978 at the Ben Uri Gallery, and most recently in 2020 at London’s House of Illustration. In this cartoon for the cover of the journal, The New Middle East, Him uses universally recognised symbols, such as Arab dress, the Stars and Stripes, and Hammer and Sickle, to construct a troubling narrative concerning the future of the State of Israel. The Ben Uri Collection also holds a number Youth Aliyah cards designed by Him; the original drawings are in the V & A collection, as Him donated one annually. 67

Marek Żuławski (1908 Rome, Italy – 1985 London, Great Britain) Susanna and the Elders, 1970s Lithograph 50 x 38.5 cm Ben Uri Collection Purchased c.1975 Migrated to Great Britain 1936

The story of Susanna and the Elders is recounted in the Apocrypha (the fourteen books appended to the Old Testament). Two elders plotted to seduce Susanna, a young Hebrew wife. Hiding in her garden, they accosted her when she came to bathe, threatening that unless she submitted to them, they would accuse her of adultery, which was punishable by death. Susanna refused and was condemned to death, only saved at the last minute by the young, future prophet Daniel, who protested her innocence. The subject was frequently painted from the mid-15th century, as it allowed artists to depict the female nude within the acceptable context of history painting. Teodor Axentowicz also


represented the subject in pastel. This striking lithograph of the seated Susanna is typical of Żuławski’s later work in London, characterised by a vibrant palette and a flattening and simplification of geometric forms which owes something to the influence of Pop Art and its British exponents, such as Allen Jones. Żuławski is the only artist within this volume to be represented in both Ben Uri and the external loan collections – his appearance in the former, as a non-Jewish artist at a time when Ben Uri was only acquiring works by Jewish practitioners, somewhat surprising and anomalous (although his studio was for many years in Greville Place, a continuation of Boundary Road, the current location of Ben Uri’s gallery).


Adriana Świerszczek (b. 1973 Warsaw, Poland – lives and works in London, England) Abduction of Europa, 2006 Pencil and charcoal on paper 110 x 132 cm Ben Uri Collection Presented by the artist 2008 Migrated to Great Britain 1995


Świerszczek was a pupil of renowned Polish artist and poster designer, Franciszek Starowieyski, in Warsaw, and her interpretation of the Abduction of Europa was inspired by his commission for the new Polish embassy in Brussels dating from 2004. Considering his response to be rather traditional and highly patriarchal, her re-response is altogether more feminine and lighter. This large-scale drawing was originally shown at Ben Uri in the exhibition Bomberg’s Relevance (2007), after which it was acquired for the collection. It was then displayed again in the drawing show, No Set Rules, in 2015, alongside works from the Schlee Collection at Southampton City Art Gallery. During

Ben Uri’s Polish exhibition in summer 2017, it was displayed at a time of fevered Brexit debate, the subject matter once again finding itself particularly resonant. Świerszczek migrated to England in 1995, to study for her BA and MA at the Slade School of Art, transferring from the European Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Becoming a British citizen in 2006, she teaches at Putney School of Art. Although not Jewish, Świerszczek has a complicated and tragic family history in Poland, with close relatives living through the German invasion and Soviet occupation. An aunt was imprisoned in Arholzen labour camp, and two other young family members – 17 and 18 years old respectively – perished in Auschwitz.

Following on from the first group of works in this volume, which are primarily drawn from the Ben Uri Collection, and which reflect the narratives of artists of mainly Jewish descent – many impacted by the tragedy of the Holocaust – the second group in this Catalogue of Works focusses on loans from a range of sources, by mostly non-Jewish Poles, who found themselves in the UK through widely different circumstances over successive decades in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


Teodor Axentowicz (1859 Brasov – 1938 Cracow, Poland) The Parting, nd Pastel on paper 95.5 x 68.5 cm The Polish Library, POSK in London

Born of Armenian heritage, Axentowicz studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, and then in Paris, under CarolusDurand. During this time, he worked as a copyist, replicating works by Titian and Botticelli for Le Monde IllustrĂŠ. He travelled to London and Rome frequently, and was a member of the Vienna Secession, moving to Cracow in 1895 to become Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts. His visits to London fuelled his interest in painters such as Gainsborough and Romney, as well as Whistler and Singer Sargent. Often working in pastel, a medium traditionally favoured by


Polish artists, he depicted women and picturesque scenes of Polish folklore. He also developed an interest in the Hutsul inhabitants of the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine and northern Romania, designing a stained glass window for the Armenian Cathedral in Lviv, although it remained unrealised. Although Axentowicz did not settle permanently in England, the subject of this work, The Parting, is particularly appropriate and evocative in the context of this publication, in which almost all the artists have, at some point, parted from their homeland and loved ones.


Włodzimierz Kołtonowski (1888 Mińsk – 1973 Leicester, England) Forest, 1931-1945 Charcoal and pencil on paper 106 x 145 cm The Polish Library, POSK in London Migrated to Great Britain 1946


Little is known about Kołtonowski and his artistic background before his arrival in Britain after the war. He kept this powerful and haunting drawing with him, rolled up, and worked on it continuously during his epic fourteen-year journey from Sovietimposed exile to Lebanon, between 19311945, as the inscription in the lower left attests. This depiction of the dark forest, a familiar symbol from Polish and Russian folklore, and its inscription, form a potent reminder of thousands of similar journeys undertaken by thousands of other Poles returning from exile. Eventually settling

in Leicester, Kołtonowski bequeathed his entire artistic output, including a series of prints in which he developed a technique whereby white marks stand out from a black ground, to the Library at POSK. His forest imagery appears to be strongly influenced by the popular Russian nineteenth century painter, Ivan Shishkin (1832-98), associated with the Peredvizhniki movement, known for his forest-scapes.

Adam Kossowski (1905 Nowy Sacz – 1986 London, England) Polish prisoners of war in Kharkov Prison 1939, 1943 Pencil on paper 30 x 40 cm Private Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1946

After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Kossowski fled but was then arrested by occupying Soviet troops in November. Imprisoned at Skole, then Kharkov, he was sentenced to five years of hard labour and deported to Peczlag until 1942. On release he joined Polish prisoners who formed the Polish II Corps in Russia under General Władysław Anders (Anders’ Army) and was evacuated with his countrymen to the Caspian Sea, then to Pahlevi in Teheran and to Palestine. He eventually joined his wife in Britain and was employed by the Polish Ministry

of Information in 1943, where he worked throughout the remainder of the war. This powerful drawing recalls his imprisonment in 1939, revealing a spectacled selfportrait huddled amongst the mass of recumbent figures, in the bottom right corner. Kossowski is best known for church mosaics in Britain; his History of the Old Kent Road at the Everlasting Arms Ministries, 600-608 Old Kent Road, in south London (formerly North Peckham Civic Centre), depicting episodes of local history, was saved by the Twentieth Century Society in 2017.


Feliks Topolski (1907 Warsaw – 1989 London, England) Old England, 1943 Oil on canvas 68 x 90 cm Matthew Bateson, London Migrated to Great Britain 1935

Topolski trained at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw whilst contributing cartoons to Cyrulik Warszawski (‘The Polish Barber’). In 1935 he arrived in England, commissioned by Wiadomosci Literackie (‘Literary News’) to record King George 76

V’s Silver Jubilee. During the Second World War he was appointed an official war artist for the Polish government in exile, and then for the British government. Picture Post magazine sent him to Russia, and further travels took him to Egypt, Palestine, the Levant, India and Burma. He accompanied the Polish II Corps, arriving in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp two weeks after its liberation in April 1945, and provided some of the most important first hand visual testimony of the atrocities. His drawings of the camp also featured in Ben Uri’s 1947 exhibition, Subjects of Jewish Interest. He subsequently worked as an official artist at the Nuremberg Trials. Old England, one of his most

masterful wartime oils, executed with a mass of energetic brushstrokes, presents a proud English nation whose mounted soldiers parade triumphantly in the face of the flames and destruction of conflict, surrounding a central (and somewhat caricatured) figure of an elderly bearded shtetl Jew with a beaked nose, swathed in heavy robes, under a deep brimmed hat. Topolski subsequently reworked the composition, replacing this figure with a rotund Churchillian character accompanied by an archetypal English gent in top hat and tails, for a lithograph version produced for School Prints in 1947, now re-titled This England.

Stanisław Frenkiel (1918 Cracow, Poland – 2001 London, England) Egypt 1944, Girls in a Doorway, 1944 Pen and ink on paper 26 x 16.5 cm Private collection Migrated to Great Britain 1948

Frenkiel was sent to Egypt in 1944 to serve with the military police. He remained there until the end of the war, and focussed his drawing on the Egyptian cityscape, exploring scenes of daily life in different districts of Cairo. Frenkiel left for Lebanon in 1945 and later took up studies at the Beirut Academy of Fine Art, where he took inspiration from the city’s street life: beggars, bazaars, and cafés. His wife, Anna Neuman, was, at this time, completing studies in medicine at the American University in Beirut, where Frenkiel held his first public exhibition in 1947. Frenkiel often created narratives dedicated to

pleasure, and this drawing, one of a large series, recalling Reubens and Ingres, portrays Cairo’s prostitutes with wit and affection, catching them in a moment of ‘simply luxuriating in the sensuous proximity of a companion.’


Stanisław Frenkiel (1918 Cracow, Poland – 2001 London, England) Lady in a Red Hat, nd Oil on board 41 x 28 cm Private collection Migrated to Great Britain 1948

Frenkiel studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, leaving in 1937 for Paris, and passing through Berlin, where he saw the infamous Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) touring exhibition arranged by the Nazi regime. Frenkiel remained in Germanoccupied Poland briefly before escaping to Lviv where he was arrested by the NKVD (Russian Secret Police) and sentenced to three years in a Soviet labour camp. 78

He survived by drawing portraits of the guards. After his release in 1941, Frenkiel travelled through Siberia and Kazakhstan in search of his wife-to-be, Anna Neuman. Finally reunited in Uzbekistan, they were married, just prior to Frenkiel’s call-up to the newly reformed Polish 9th Infantry. He travelled through Iraq, Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon with the Anders Army, was able to study at the Academie des Beaux

Arts in Beirut (where he rejoined Anna), and in 1948 was finally posted to Britain, where he remained for the rest of his life. This tender portrait owes something to the early influence of artists such as Kisling and Rouault, and to Anna’s striking, darkhaired beauty, though the sitter is largely imaginary.

Tadeusz Piotr Potworowski (1898 Warsaw – 1962 Warsaw, Poland) Self Portrait, 1948 Pen and ink on paper 8 x 9 cm Matthew Bateson, London Migrated to Great Britain 1943 Returned to Poland 1958

From a prosperous family, Potworowski joined the Polish Ułan (cavalry), carving out a distinguished military career during the conflicts of 1917-20. He then studied painting at the Warsaw School of Art and Cracow Academy of Fine Arts. In 1924, with a group of progressive ‘Kapist’ students, he moved to Paris to paint and exhibit, returning to Poland and married life in 1930, following a brief sojourn to North Africa. Following the German

invasion in 1939, as a Polish officer, he fled to Sweden via Vilnius, eventually arriving in Scotland in 1943 in the bomb bay of a Mosquito plane. Moving to London, he held his first solo show at the Redfern Gallery in 1946 and cultivated links with fellow émigré Poles, including Jankel Adler, the Themersons, Ruszkowski, Topolski and Żuławski, whilst also exhibiting with The London Group. He taught at the progressive Bath School of Art at Corsham Court from 1949, marking a key association with the west of England, and an important time as an influential teacher. However, in 1958, following a ‘thaw’ in relations with the West, he returned permanently to Poland, holding a retrospective at the National Museum in Poznań. With a degree of independence

from state aesthetic ideology, he was able to create work for Documenta, the Venice Biennale and a show of Polish painters at MoMA. He is the only Polish-born artist of his generation in this publication who died in his homeland, yet his contribution to postwar British art is significant, as singled out by Douglas Hall, the distinguished first Keeper of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, in his important publication: Art in Exile: Polish Painters in Post-war Britain (2008), and much belied by this tiny traditional and modest self-portrait. In 1944 Potworowski wrote: ‘The creation of a major plan for the arts to enter the lives of the largest possible number of people and to raise the level of interest in the arts in society, must become the issue taken up by artists’. 79

Marian Bohusz-Szyszko (1901 Trokienniki – 1995 London, England) Portrait of Cyprian Norwid, 1946 Pen and ink on paper 72 x 53 cm The Polish Library, POSK in London Migrated to Great Britain 1946

Bohusz-Szyszko undertook military service in the First World War, countering the Soviet invasion of newly re-established Poland in 1919. Subsequently studying art at the Stefan Batory University in Vilnius and the Academy of Fine Art in Cracow, he moved into education, teaching art and mathematics. He served again in the Polish Army during the Second World War, although he was captured and held as a prisoner of war by the Germans for five years. During internment he


lectured on art and maths; on release he travelled to Italy with the Anders Army, eventually arriving in Britain in 1946. In London he taught art at the YMCA and founded the Polish School of Painting and Graphic Design in exile, where his students included Janina Baranowska. Cyprian Norwid (1821 – 1883) is considered one of the most important poets and philosophers of the Polish romantic movement, whom Bohusz-Szyszko much admired and discussed in the publication

Norwid-Plastyk. This simplified portrait presents a familiar icon of Polish national culture for a community in exile, conveying his striking profile with a few deft brushstrokes.

Marian Bohusz-Szyszko (1902 Trokienniki – 1995 London, England) Winter Landscape, 1945 101 x 75 cm Oil on canvas Matthew Bateson, London Migrated to Great Britain 1946

A work painted prior to Bohusz-Szyszko’s arrival in Britain, Winter Landscape provides a contrast to much of his later, more colourful and frenetic figurative works, which often take their inspiration from Old and New Testaments subjects. This wooded scene, with its muted palette and strongly recurring verticals, with paint applied direct from the tube and scraped off, may suggest memories of long-lost snow-covered Polish forests, as well as the less familiar Italian landscape, following the foundation of his School of Painting

in Cecchignola near Rome. By November 1946 he had arrived in Britain and the following summer, with the help of graphic designer Wojciech Jastrzębowski (the former Rector of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts) and architect Romuald Nowicki, he recreated his school of painting in exile under the new name of Studium Malarstwa i Grafiki Użytkowej (School of Painting and Graphic Design). At the end of 1947, the school moved to Kingwood Common, near Reading, and then to London. 81

Marian Bohusz-Szyszko (1901 Trokienniki – 1995 London, England) Birth of Man, c.1960s Oil on canvas 121.5 x 91 cm POSK Art Collection, London Migrated to Great Britain 1946

Bohusz-Szyszko developed a powerful expressionist painting style, and much of the work created in London uses biblical subject matter and religious iconography, conveyed with the vivid palette of a committed colourist. Birth of Man is typical of work of the 1960s, in which the figures become lost in a frenzy of coloured brushstrokes; akin to flames, they fill the canvas with a tremendous vertical energy. Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the


English hospice movement, purchased the painting Christ Calming the Waters for St Christopher’s Hospice in south London, from Bohusz-Szyszko’s exhibition at the Drian Galleries in 1963 (owned by fellow Polish emigre Halima Nałęcz). This marked the start of a relationship which culminated in their marriage in 1980. A number of Bohusz-Szyszko’s spiritual works can still be seen on display at St Christopher’s in Sydenham.

Janina Baranowska (b. 1925 Grodno – lives in London, England) Crucifixion, 1960s Oil on canvas 122 x 91.5 cm Matthew Bateson, London Migrated to Great Britain 1946

This two-part painting, with its powerful Christian iconography, closely relates to work – both in style and in subject – by Baranowska’s second, and no less important, art teacher in England, Polish émigré, Marian Bohusz-Szyszko. Treated like a traditional segmented altarpiece, the deeper red, lower portion of this work represents a peaceful landscape, in contrast to the trauma of the darkened scene above, conveyed with expressive

brushstrokes. Its rich, deep palette and dynamic handling of paint give way, in Baranowska’s later paintings in the 1970s, to lighter tones and to a tighter format, often with a strict compositional grid providing an underlying structure – a method also employed by Bomberg, particularly in his early cubist-influenced works.


Janina Baranowska (b. 1925 Grodno – lives London, England) Portrait, 1953 Oil on canvas 60 x 42 cm Matthew Bateson, London Migrated to Great Britain 1946

Baranowska remained in Poland following the invasion and occupation in September 1939; as a teenager, in 1940, under Soviet occupation, she was arrested and deported to Russia along with many of her fellow Poles, savagely curtailing her ambitions to study art in her native land. Two years later she joined the Polish Army in the East (the so-called ‘Anders’ Army), as it began its long, slow return journey on foot to Europe via the Middle East


to rejoin the Polish Army in the West. Eventually arriving in Britain in 1946, she enrolled in David Bomberg’s classes at Borough Road where she was his youngest – and she suggests, his favourite pupil. In old age, she still recalled his teaching methods: often turning works upside down in order to emphasise the importance of form and composition, rather than a slavish dedication to reality – a technique also taught in Polish art

schools. This haunting skull-like portrait, with its Rembrandtesque palette, was created in Bomberg’s class. Other similar portraits remained in the home studio Baranowska kept until her 90s, including one marked by a few masterful brushstrokes which she claimed were applied directly by Bomberg to correct his pupil’s uncertain draughtsmanship.

Feliks Topolski (1907 Warsaw – 1989 London, England) Portrait of Bertrand Russell, 1957 Pencil on paper 30 x 20 cm Matthew Bateson, London Migrated to Great Britain 1935

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was a British polymath, whose fields of interest and study ranged from philosophy and history to mathematics and social politics. In 1910 he wrote in favour of women’s suffrage, and later expressed his opinion against Victorian notions of morality. In 1958, when homosexuality was still taboo in many parts of Britain, he was amongst thirtythree eminent cultural figures who signed an open letter to The Times calling for the

law to be reformed. This portrait was part of a series commissioned from Topolski on ‘Britain’s Twentieth-Century Literary Greats’ who included Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh, and Graham Greene, the latter whom Topolski knew from his early days in London, having contributed illustrations to his magazine, Night and Day. This portrait is typical of Topolski’s virtuoso drawing style, where the subject emerges and solidifies from a maze of frenzied

pencil lines, an almost quizzical expression captured on the great intellectual’s face.


Henryk Gotlib (1890 Cracow – 1966 Godstone, England) Self Portrait with Pipe, c.1958/59 Oil on canvas 45.5 x 37 cm Ben Uri Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1939

Born into a respected family of Jewish descent, Gotlib studied at the Cracow Academy of Art from 1908-10, then travelled widely in Italy, Greece and Spain. He developed an aesthetic affinity with various Polish avant-garde groups during the 1920s, but eventually honed his own credo, with colour and form at the core of his art. Following productive years in France, Gotlib arrived briefly in London in April 1938, where he met his future wife, Janet. Having married in France, and spent


time together in Poland, their short return visit to England in June 1939 became one of permanency with the outbreak of war. Establishing himself swiftly in the British art world, Gotlib published Polish Painting in 1942 – he was a passionate and perceptive writer on art - and joined the newly formed Roland Browse and Delbanco Gallery (founded by émigrés), holding three one man shows between 1945-49. He wrote to Henry Roland in 1947: ‘Bonnard paints atmosphere; I

paint thing thing itself’. 1949-51 marked a unsettled period when Gotlib relocated unsuccessfully to Poland as Professor at the Academy in Cracow; he eventually returned to Britain and settled into a more isolated life in Surrey. This later, introspective self-portrait is characterised by dissolving form and a vivid palette, exemplifying Gotlib’s continuing reaction against traditionalism and his highly personal use of colour.

Henryk Gotlib (1890 Cracow – 1966 Godstone, England) Landscape with Black and White Cows, 1952 Oil on canvas 62 x 75 cm Boundary Gallery, London Migrated to Great Britain 1939

Gotlib moved to Godstone, Surrey in 1951, with his wife Janet, following an unsuccessful posting abroad as Professor at the Cracow Academy of Fine Art. He continued to exhibit his distinctive colourist works in various group shows in Britain, though with decreased commercial success. He also became the first foreign member of The London Group, then known for its ‘cosmopolitan and permissive’ mood, invited to join by Elliott Seabrooke (later President (1943-

48) and Vice-President (1949-1950) of the Group), as early as 1940, and subsequently exhibiting his important Polish War Triptych under its auspices. In an essay of 1957, Gotlib stated he had ‘painted cows and trees, nudes and angels, apples and skies all my life and still I am not sure of their material reality. The only thing I am sure of is the reality of colour’.


Zdzisław Ruszkowski (1907 Tomaszów Mazowiecki – 1991 London, England) Pamela (Looking Down the Harbour), 1957 Oil on canvas 115 x 73 cm Annabel Hodin, London Migrated to Scotland 1941

Ruszkowski’s artistic development embraced several distinct phases. His earlier academic style was abandoned by 1931 in favour of the influence of Van Gogh and Post-Impressionism. This was in turn superseded by a deeper palette, with a Bonnard-esque preoccupation with light and form, seeing rich colours in shadow, and the creation of a glowing ‘aureole’ wherein contrasting colours met – as exemplified in this portrait of Pamela Hodin in Newlyn, Cornwall. Ruszkowski’s brief theoretical statement, Aureolism,


was set out in a monograph written by Pamela’s husband, Dr J P Hodin, Czech émigré art historian and Ruszkowski’s close friend, published in 1966. The two families were neighbours in Hampstead and also spent time together in Newlyn, where the Hodins had a second home. In 1949-50 Ruszkowski rented a studio from them for two summers, painting and immersing himself in local Cornish artistic life. The Hodins were at the centre of a cosmopolitan circle both in Cornwall and in London, and Hodin championed

a number of émigré artists through his ultimately unsuccessful concept of a British Continental School of painters. The largest collection of Ruszkowski’s work is now held by the Simonow collection in France.

Zdzisław Ruszkowski (1907 Tomaszów Mazowiecki – 1991 London, England) Portrait of Anna and Kasia, 1954 Oil on canvas 41 x 56 cm POSK Art Collection, London Migrated to Scotland 1941

The Ruszkowski family fled to Russia during the First World War, returning to newly independent Poland in 1918 after the Germans retreated. Ruszkowski subsequently studied law in Cracow, before attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Moving to Paris in 1935, with little money, he was initially strongly influenced by Cezanne; moving south, new artist companions and the brilliant light in Provence revealed the artistic possibilities of landscape painting. On the outbreak of war he joined the Polish Army in northern France; when France was invaded in 1940

he escaped to Spain on foot through the Pyrenees, finally rejoining his unit in Scotland in 1941, where he met and married his wife, Jennifer McCormack. Their daughter, Anna, was born the following year, and in 1945 the family moved to Hampstead, centre of a lively émigré circle, where he set up a studio. This charming double-portrait shows Anna and her childhood friend. Painted before Ruszkowski’s fully-fledged Bonnard-esque phase, the palette is muted, conveying a warm relationship between painter and sitters.


Halina Korn née Korngold (1902 Warsaw – 1978 London, England) Woman with Necklace, c. 1950s Resin Height 30 cm Private Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1940

Born into a Jewish family, and a student of journalism in Warsaw, Halina Korn met Marek Żuławski, who would eventually become her husband, in Paris in 1938. In May 1940, after the Nazi invasion and occupation of France, Korn boarded a boat and unwittingly found herself in Cornwall, although she believed she was sailing to America. Korn was sent to a refugee camp from where she contacted Żuławski, who was by then living in London. When


the war ended Korn discovered that her entire family had been killed and her sister, Jadzia, had perished in Auschwitz. This affected her mental health profoundly for the rest of her life. She began painting and sculpting around 1941, encouraged by Żuławski, and wrote on art for the BBC Polish Service during the 1950s. In 1951 she showed The Listeners in Ben Uri’s Autumn Exhibition of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture. Woman with Necklace –

most likely a self-portrait – is typical of her individual, untutored style. Painting and sculpture became a powerful form of therapy for her for more than twenty years, until neurosurgery for a bipolar condition in 1965 curtailed her creativity. The Ben Uri Collection now holds two works by Korn: Bus Stop and its associated pencil sketch, both capturing the lively rhythms of daily life in London which Korn so deftly and empathetically recorded.

Marek Żuławski (1908 Rome, Italy – 1985 London, England) The Angler II, 1960 Oil on canvas 122 x 76 cm Private Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1936

While in exile during the war, Żuławski worked for the BBC’s Polish Service, and in the postwar period he further established his reputation as a ‘British’ artist when his decorative panel was featured in the Garden Cafe at the 1951 Festival of Britain. He was well acquainted with other artists in the émigré Polish community, including Feliks Topolski, who painted his wedding portrait with Halina Korn; Halima Nałęcz (owner of the Drian Gallery) and Tadeusz

Piotr Potworowski. The Angler II, with its powerful composition and lone, upright figure, owes something to the influence of fellow Pole, Josef Herman, whom Żuławski visited in South Wales in 1948, among the miners of Ystradgynlais; both artists shared a deep respect for the nobility and dignity of the working man.


Jan Wieliczko (1919/1921 Vilnius, Poland – 1998 London, England) Blue Lancer, c. 1965 Oil on canvas 90.5 x 60.5 cm POSK Art Collection, London Migrated to Great Britain 1946

Joining the Slade School of Art in 1946, whilst still in uniform, Wieliczko eventually became assistant to Professor Vladimir Polunin, the renowned creator of set designs for Sergei Diaghilev’s legendary Ballets Russes. Wieliczko’s grounding in producing striking and highly colourful set designs influenced the form and composition of his later painting and sculpture. According to his son, he favoured a ‘painterly’ appreciation of the visual arts, and valued colour, style, and form, over literary narrative and historical


context. This approach was reflected by the many and varied exhibitions held over 40 years at the Centaur Gallery, which he founded in 1960 with his wife, Dinah, and long-time friend and partner, Rita Masseron, to support and promote the work of many émigré artists, including Andrzej Kuhn and Zdzisław Ruszkowski. Blue Lancer depicts a subject at the heart of Polish national identity - the historic Napoleonic Polish Ułan Cavalry. A century later its descendants courageously and vainly fought the invading German army

in 1939 – horses against tanks – against overwhelming odds. The painting fuses an iconic image with a modernist vocabulary, through Wieliczko’s highly individualistic style and palette.

Jan Wieliczko (1919/1921 Vilnius, Poland – 1998 London, England) Album (facsimile) 25 x 25 x 4 cm Private Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1946

Jan Wieliczko, and his brother Kazik, both served in the Polish Air Force during the Second World War. They documented their escape from an invaded Poland through the Mediterranean, Middle East, France and then to Britain, in this astonishing personal album, with its dramatically embossed cover design displaying the Polish eagle. It combines painting, sketches, maps and photographs to record their war, not only as pilots, but also as artists, tragically memorialising Kazik’s own death flying a bomber over Essen in Germany. 93

Tadeusz Znicz-Muszyński (1922 Warsaw, Poland – 1988, England) Pinowy Ruch (Vertical Movement), c.1950s Oil on canvas 98.5 x 75 cm POSK Art Collection, London Migrated to Great Britain 1946

Znicz-Muszyński’s architect father had a significant impact on his son’s formative years. Following the outbreak of war, Znicz-Muszyński was captured by the Germany army but escaped whilst en route to a labour camp in November 1939, eventually making his way back to Warsaw. He fought during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, but after the city capitulated, he was imprisoned in Germany. Seven months later he was freed by the Second United States Army, as the war drew to a close. He subsequently joined the Third 94

Carpathian Division of the Polish II Corps (‘Anders’ Army) in Italy, where he tried to evade military service in order to pursue an artistic career, and eventually studied painting at the University of Bologna. After the war he arrived as an exile in London with fellow Polish émigré painter, Marian Bohusz-Szyszko, and obtained his National Design Diploma from the Sir John Cass College (1948-51). He was instrumental in establishing Grupa 49 (Group 49) alongside other Polish émigré artists, and he also became a member

of the Association of Polish Artists in Great Britain. This striking, dynamic work integrates components of expressionism with a constructivist concern for a composition which preserves the two dimensionality of the picture surface. Hovering between abstraction and figuration, the spiky forms and the distinctive green/blue palette also recall the work of mid-century English landscape painters such as Graham Sutherland.

Franciszka Themerson (1907 Warsaw – 1988 London, England) Migrated to Great Britain 1940

Stefan Themerson (1910 Plock – 1988 London, England) Migrated to Great Britain 1942 The Table that Ran Away to the Woods, 1963/2012 Ben Uri Archive

Franciszka and Stefan Themerson had an immense influence on avant-garde art and design and are widely considered the most important experimental filmmakers in prewar Poland, making five films in the 1930s and publishing children’s books. During the war, when first exiled in London, they worked for the Polish Ministry of Information and Documentation, producing two films, Calling Mr Smith (1943), a powerful, surrealist-influenced account of Nazi atrocities in Poland, and The Eye and the Ear (1944-5), a translation of sound into images based on songs by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. In 1948 they established Gaberbocchus Press (the name is a latinized version of ‘Jabberwocky’), with Stefan as editor and Franciszka as artistic director, under the principle that the design of each book should be an expression of its content. Their first volume was Jankel Adler or an artist seen from one or many possible angles (1948), printed by Stefan by hand in their top floor flat in Maida Vale, and inspired by their friendship with fellow Polish émigré artist, Adler; other important volumes included Ubu Roi (1951)

and Kurt Schwitters in England 19401948 (1958). During its 31 year existence, Gaberbocchus Press published 60 titles by authors such as Bertrand Russell and C.H. Sisson. Stefan also invented what he called ‘Semantic Poetry’ in the novel Bayamus (1949): ‘a sort of poetry that prefers the matter-of-fact meanings of words in dictionary definitions to the romantic euphemism of poetic conventions’. In 1959 their office became the Gaberbocchus Common Room, a cultural meeting place, hosting films, plays and poetry recitals. Francizka, who had graduated with distinction from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1931, painted in a way that was a vehicle for drawing – pressing with a finger in heavy white impasto, using a knife, and adding a wash of colour over an image or pushing it into lines gouged into the picture surface. Her images often

focus on the human condition: cautionary tales of mindlessness, conformism and inhumanity. The Table That Ran Away to the Woods, a classic children’s tale, first published in a Polish newspaper in occupied France in 1940, was recreated by the Themersons in a collaged version in 1963, then reissued by Tate Publishing in 2012. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Book Club of California described: ‘a madness about various Gaberbocchus books which is the spice of life, an ingredient somewhat lacking in the world of impeccable book production.’


Caziel studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts before moving to Paris in 1937, where he remained until 1940. He joined the Polish Army in France in 1939, but following the Franco-German armistice, Caziel fled south with his Jewish wife, the painter Lutka Pink. Staying in Aix-enProvence with the poet Blaise Cendrars (né Frédéric-Louis Sauser), Caziel was 96

profoundly influenced by Cézanne, creating unusual compositions and nudes shaped by bold contours. Caziel and Lutka remained in Aix until late 1946, the year he designed the Pavilion for the UNESCO International Exhibition of Modern Art. Settling in Paris - Caziel refused to return to Poland as Lutka’s relatives had been murdered in Auschwitz – he became

involved in the École de Paris and was particularly influenced by Picasso. Caziel’s work in the 1950s evolved towards strong geometrical patterns, prefiguring his completely abstract works of the 1960s. Having regularly visited England, in 1969 Caziel and his second wife, the Scottish painter, Catherine Sinclair, moved to Somerset, while he exhibited with the

Caziel né Kazimierz Józef Zielenkiewicz (1906 Sosnowiec – 1988 Somerset, England) Composition WC 768, c. 1967 Oil on panel 19.5 x 33 cm Whitford Fine Art Migrated to Great Britain 1969

Grabowski Gallery in London, which supported a number of Polish artists. In this latter phase, his abstractions became less hard-edged; this vibrant formalist work with its pulsating colour, embodies Caziel’s firm belief that painting should bring joy.


Josef Piwowar (1904 Podhorce – 1987 London, England) Horse with Three Legs, 1970 Ceramic Height 40 cm POSK Art Collection, London Migrated to Great Britain 1946


On the outbreak of war in 1939, Piwowar was arrested by the Soviets in Pińsk: subjected to torture, he was subsequently sentenced to work for eight years in a labour camp in Kolyma but managed to gain his freedom in 1941. On his release he joined General Anders’ army in Iran and travelled through Palestine, Egypt and Italy, where he fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino. He came to Britain shortly after and settled temporarily in Liverpool. Art for Piwowar was an attempt to find self-fulfilment in everyday life; he saw his

surroundings as a creative world which he populated with idiosyncratic ceramic sculptures of mysterious creatures, using abstract shapes and fantastic colours. The tranche of gently humourous sculptures, now in the POSK collection, arrived posthumously, unannounced and unaccompanied, in the back of a taxi.

Andrzej Kuhn (1929 Lvov, Poland – 2014 London, England) Centaur Gallery Roundel, 1997 Painted metal Diameter 30 cm Private Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1943

Following the Russian invasion of eastern Poland in 1940, Kuhn’s father was imprisoned, and Andrzej, his mother and sister, were deported to Kazakhstan. His mother died in a labour camp, and Andrzej and his sister were placed in an orphanage. After six years of labouring jobs and a period in the merchant navy, Kuhn won a scholarship to the Chelsea School of Art in London, where he met his future wife, Diana. Influences of native Polish folk art and European artists such as Chagall and Klee can be seen in his work. This roundel made for the 40th anniversary of the Centaur Gallery, established by fellow Pole, Jan Wieliczko, is typical of Kuhn’s idiosyncratic naive style, and shows his close connection to Polish émigré artistic circles in London. In 1961, Kuhn wrote:

‘To me, painting is like a journey into an unknown world […] in those far lands I meet strange people, creatures of the imagination. They are poets, fiddlers, sailors, tramps. Their heads are large and their bodies out of proportion […] I set them on canvas, where they can live again, smoking their pipes, talking and wondering at this new existence’. Kuhn and Diana eventually settled in Lincolnshire, where – as the novelist and poet Glyn Hughes described – Kuhn painted for the remainder of his life, in ‘a place of drained salt marsh […] laid out with fields of potatoes and cabbages [..] but for Andrzej Kuhn an empty landscape is an inspiration’.


Stanisław Frenkiel (1918 Cracow, Poland – 2001 London, England) Squeak’s Miraculous Escape, 1973 Oil on canvas 110 x 90 cm POSK Art Collection, London Migrated to Great Britain 1948

Frenkiel depicts the beloved family cat, Squeak, narrowly escaping from under the hooves and rifle of a menacing Russian soldier on horseback. The upright brushstrokes of the cat’s back, and his arched body in mid-leap, powerfully convey his terror. With amorphous features and green uniform, the soldier symbolises the faceless Soviet forces that had imprisoned Frenkiel in a labour camp 100

prior to his long ‘journey’ to Britain, via Beirut (where he studied at the Academie des Beaux Arts), Cairo and Rome as part of the Anders Army. The work is typical of Frenkiel’s often elaborate narrative paintings, influenced by early contact with Rouault in Paris, in which a savage wit, surrealism, and powerful emotions all jostle with the everyday subject. In London Frenkiel completed his studies at Sir John

Cass School of Art and the Courtauld Institute, subsequently combining painting with art teaching, art criticism, broadcasting in Polish for the BBC World Service, and working at the Institute of Education, University of London. A significant figure in Polish émigré circles, he was also a member of The London Group.

Stanisław Frenkiel (1918 Cracow, Poland – 2001 London, England) Incantations, 1993 Oil on canvas 121 x 91 cm Private collection Migrated to Great Britain 1948

In this late work Frenkiel combines a variety of symbols and figures. The overall effect is cacophonous, as the image is packed with human action and narrative. A priest-like figure hovers on the right behind the the Aum symbol, which is synonymous with Indian Dharmic religions, such as Hinduism, indicating four stages of consciousness. Directly opposite is a

winged triangle, tattooed on the woman’s arm. It might be surmised from the title, Incantations, that a summoning of some sort is taking place. Certainly, Frenkiel, a devout Roman Catholic, had a love of ritual and celebration, recalling the Cracow of his youth as a city dedicated to ‘anniversaries, processions, masquerades and funerals’. The two foregrounded

nudes are typical of Frenkiel’s oeuvre, neither are unattainable objects of desire nor are they idealised odalisques; with their imperfections and lumpy flesh, they are clearly rooted in reality.


Andrzej Krauze (b.1947 Dawidy Bankowe, Poland – lives in London, England) Migrated to Great Britain 1979 Left:


September 11 (Untitled)


Published in The Guardian, 29 September 2001 Indian ink and watercolour on paper 21 x 29.7 cm Courtesy of the artist

Published in The Guardian, 10 May 2003 Indian ink and watercolour on paper 21 x 29.7 cm Courtesy of the artist


Whilst studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Krauze contributed cartoons to the satirical magazine Szpilk and won a poster design competition organised by the Polish National Theatre, for which he subsequently worked as a graphic designer until 1973. His graduation piece, an animated film, The Flying Lesson, was immediately censored. In 1974, he began working as political cartoonist on the weekly Kultura, during a time of heavy censorship, commenting latterly: ‘Your first censor was your editor. All

material was sent to a special office several days before publication and, if they stopped something, it was not only a problem for you but for your editor too. The editor had to be a member of the Communist Party and it was very important for him not to have too much material stopped’. In the 1980s, Kultura closed under martial law, but Krauze made cartoons for the Polish trade union paper Solidarność. Since moving to London, he has contributed regularly to L’Express, The Guardian, and New Statesman. In

2003, a retrospective was held at The Guardian, and his work featured in the British Library’s Propaganda, Power and Persuasion (2013). These two drawings for The Guardian, one referencing the events of 9/11 and the other more generally to identity, are typical of Krauze’s biting visual commentary on contemporary society; they require no captions. Krauze also creates paper cut outs in the tradition of Polish paper sculpture. Examples of these and his graphic work were shown in a major retrospective held at the

Museum of Cartoon Art in Warsaw in autumn 2017, described in The Guardian as an ‘the homecoming of a modest hero’. The significance of caricature in Poland’s recent history was underlined by the daughter of the museum’s founder, who explained during the exhibition that ‘there were lots of things that couldn’t be said directly, so people had to find metaphorical ways of saying them [...] He caught the tragi-comedy of Polish life’.


Andrzej Maria Borkowski (1949 Warsaw, Poland – lives in London, England) Migrated to Great Britain 1982 Left:


Back Home, 2011

Girl in a Mask of a Crocodile, 2010

Screenprint 53 x 42 cm Courtesy of the artist

Screenprint 50 x 40 cm Courtesy of the artist


Educated at Warsaw University, Borkowski was initially a performance artist and co-founder of the Polish theatre company ‘Akademia Ruchu’ (Academy of Movement). Immigrating during the period of martial law in Poland, he studied at the Courtauld Institute and the London College of Printing, eventually becoming Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton. Working in a variety of media,

he creates prints, drawings, collages, and reversed paintings on glass (a traditional Polish technique); he also writes on art, particularly for Polish publications in London. Back Home, with its Icarus-like winged figure falling to a gaping void, has multiple meanings. The sharp, jutting incisors may invoke the Surrealist vagina dentata, the ultimate representation of castration anxiety; the image may also

be read as Mother Earth devouring her children. Ultimately, however, Back Home is an illustration of the narrative of Polish migration, complete with hopes, fears, and disappointments, suggesting a return to a homeland that is, no longer, a welcoming ‘home’.


Joanna Ciechanowska (1950 Warsaw, Poland – lives and works in London, England) Boris Johnson, 2013 Digital drawing (variable size) Courtesy of the artist Migrated to Great Britain 1981

Having completed her Master’s degree in Graphic Design and Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Ciechanowska travelled to Europe. Although she initially came to London in 1981 following the imposition of martial law in Poland, it was only a prelude to migratory life. Having lived in Iran, where her life was uprooted by the Islamic Revolution, she moved to Egypt and then


to Africa, where she lived in a Zulu hut in Lesotho, and then to Hong Kong, where she continued her design work. Eventually returning to London, she worked as a freelance designer and illustrator for iconic brands such as IBM, London Transport Advertising and CBS Records, whilst establishing her parallel practice as a painter. Having exhibited internationally, Ciechanowska continues to show regularly

with APA and the Free Painters and Sculptors in London, and is a regular contributor to the Polish newspaper Nowy Czas, where her ‘Artful Faces’ series of digital portraits, such as this witty take on our current Prime Minister when he was Mayor of London, as well as her articles, are published monthly.

Stanisław Sławomir Blatton (b. 1943 Limanowa, Poland – lives in London, England) Untitled 2016 Pen and ink on paper 10 x 6 cm Matthew Bateson, London Migrated to Great Britain 1970

Blatton trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, following which he undertook a Master’s degree in Painting and Graphics. He won a scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Culture in 1970 and, after his immigration to England, taught etching at The Working Men’s College in London. He was subsequently awarded the Duke of York Medal for his services to adult education. Blatton worked as

a Conservation Officer in the Framing Department of the National Gallery in London for thirteen years. His artwork is predominantly figurative, often using watercolours to create an expressive atmosphere that takes inspiration from classical themes. Untitled, with its sketchy, energetic lines, figurative subject and timeless quality, calls to mind the powerful draughtsmanship of fellow Pole, Feliks

Topolski. Blatton is a long-standing and proactive member of The London Group, elected in 1997. On showing a new video at Highgate’s Literary & Scientific Institution, with nine other digital artist members in 2017, he was described by the Group’s archivist as ‘a thoroughly modern maker’.


Małgorzata Łapsa-Malawska (b. 1981 Przemyśl, Poland – lives and works in London, England) Migrated to Britain 2012 Left:


Women’s Strength, 2017

Taste of Freedom, 2017

Oil on canvas board 20 x 20 cm Courtesy of the artist

Oil on canvas board 20 x 20 cm Courtesy of the artist


After completing her Master’s degree in Cracow, Łapsa-Malawska left Poland in 2011 for Chile where she lived until 2012, when she moved to London. Her work is defined by simplicity; fewer brushstrokes create clarity and space, encouraging her audience to use their imagination. Her use of a monochrome palette, suggestive of black and white photography and influenced by Polish poster design and Japanese aesthetics, brings a starkness to her compositions, which are simply executed. Łapsa-Malawska works with

painting, collage, photography, poster design and lithography, through which she explores the idea of isolation and loneliness, which can only too often be experienced even in the midst of a busy urban life. Women’s Strength depicts the artist’s grandmother and greatgrandmother in Cracow in the summer of 1938, their last moments of freedom before the Second World War changed their lives forever. It also serves as a homage to all women who were forced to grow up quickly during the war. In

a second examination of her personal history, Taste of Freedom was inspired by an old family photograph of her father and uncle when they were young. Playing in a garden, acting out childish roles, the youngsters are watched by ŁapsaMalawska’s grandmother and aunt. This painting speaks to all children whose lives have been changed irrevocably by war, both from Łapsa-Malawska grandparents’ generation and her own.


Magda Błasińska (1983, Llza, Poland – lives in London, England) Migrated to Scotland 2003 Left:


Stalin’s Revenge, 2017

Ground I, 2017

Acrylic on linen 120 x 100 cm Courtesy of the artist

Cotton ticking 49 x 43 cm Courtesy of the artist


The subject of the painting is the plant: Heracleum Sosnowskyi (Sosnowsky’s Hogweed). Originally imported from Russia in 1953, just before Stalin’s death, it was initially meant to serve as a cheap, alternative animal foodstuff, but was found to be poisonous to humans. The plant has now spread itself uncontrollably across the Polish landscape, becoming known colloquially as ‘Stalin’s Revenge’ for its ubiquity and its powerful and unexpected toxicity. Błasińska has a particular familiarity with the subject, growing

up on a farm in the Polish countryside. She also has an awareness of traditional Polish crafts, such as weaving and paper sculpture. Her use of cotton ticking, a very English material, but here shredded and woven, employing a technique familiar from her homeland, demonstrates a desire to examine how and where such traditional methods can fit into a contemporary art context. Błasińska’s interest in Polish traditions and folklore also reveals a concern for personal and national identity.


Magda Skupińska (b. 1991 Warsaw, Poland – lives and works in London, England) Sundown, 2017 Chilli and turmeric on canvas 38 x 29 cm Magda Skupińska, courtesy of the artist and Maximillian William Migrated to Great Britain 2011

Arriving in London in 2011, Skupińska studied at Central St Martins, before studying for her MA at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 2017. The hallmark of her painting from this time is her use of natural and degradable materials, including spices and fruit. Applying unconventional materials, such as chilli and turmeric, as in Sundown, to a traditional surface, such as canvas, Skupińska aims to draw attention to environmental issues caused by human activity. This work combines texture and form, and engages multiple


senses through the bright colours, smells and textures of the unusual materials she utilises. Skupińska has participated in residencies in Buenos Aires (Future Narratives curated by Juliana Gontijo, 2016) as well as Atlantic Center For The Arts (Florida 2017, under the guidance of MacArthur Fellow, Joan Snyder). Her solo exhibitions include Elements of Silence (London 2015, presented by Maximillian William) and DAMA Project (Turin, 2016). She is represented by Maximillian William, London.


Maja Ngom (b. 1980 Poland – lives in London, England) Migrated to Great Britain 2008 Left:


All That They Hide from Themselves/ Encrusted Island, 2015-16

All That They Hide from Themselves/Encrusted Island, 2015-16

Silver gelatin print 61 x 50.8 cm Courtesy of the artist

Silver gelatin print 61 x 50.8 cm Courtesy of the artist


Maja Ngom is a Polish-Senegalese visual artist working with photography, sculpture and writing. She has a BA in Fine Art Photography from the London College of Communication and in 2015 received her Master’s in Photography from the Royal College of Art, London. Her works have been featured in publications including Exit Strategies (Black Dog Publishing) and Arc Magazine. In 2014 she was an artist-

in-residence in Cité International des Arts in Paris and participated in the residency Planche(s) Contact in Deauville. In 2015 her collaboration with composer, Monika Dalach, Ethereal Place, was presented at The Warehouse, London, SE1. This beautiful pair of silver gelatin portraits presents her Polish grandparents, who brought up Ngom, and with whom she remains incredibly close. The warmth and

openness of the relationship, with her complex identity at its heart, is conveyed through the stripping away of clothing; the inclusion of natural found elements reaffirms the significance of the Polish landscape and Ngom’s affinity with nature.


Hanna Puskarz (b. 1993, Poland – lives in London, England) PL-Land, 2016 Artist’s book 26 x 21 x 1.5 cm Courtesy of the artist Migrated to Great Britain 2012

Puskarz, a graduate from the London College of Fashion, is interested in exploring and challenging national stereotypes, as well as capturing the interplay of high and low culture. Her candid photographs are mostly taken on film and examine street style, while offering a documentary take on fashion. In her artist’s book, PL-Land, she investigates the issues surrounding Polish emigration, identity and EU instability, drawing from a rich Polish heritage of folkart and national 116

costume, creating a narrative through her own words and photographs. Puskarz originally came to London to study Fashion Photography at the University of the Arts London (UAL), but soon realised that her reasons for staying were more deeply rooted; living in Britain has given her the opportunity to live a life that is true to herself and, while she will always be a citizen of Poland, it is Britain that she has embraced.

Maciej Jędrzejewski (1993 Chełmża, Poland – lives and works in London, England) Home Sweet Home, 2016 Video (8.13 minutes) Courtesy of the artist Migrated to Great Britain 2005

Jędrzejewski’s earliest memory of drawing comes from childhood; in the middle of the night, unable to sleep and afraid of waking his parents, he started drawing on his bedroom wall. He sees art as a diary in which he can contemplate life’s events, often inspired by both Surrealism and abstraction. Much of his work is created in a semi-automated manner, evoking the process of Surrealist automatic writing, which allows the subconscious to take over from the inhibited state. In Home

Sweet Home, which was commissioned as part of a larger installation for the exhibition ‘Migrant’s Dream’ held at POSK in December 2016, he investigates migration; opening footage of post-war British migrants travelling to Australia is juxtaposed with images of the contemporary reception of migrants, to demonstrate how reactions have evolved negatively. Jędrzejewski borrows from Tarkovsky’s early work, filming in black and white to create a dreamlike state, but

deliberately distorts the flow with static to suggest that the system is ‘broken’. The narrative is interspersed with symbols relating to the Polish migrant experience: landscapes, a letter home, a priest carrying a cross, traditional embroidery – potent images which find resonance in many other works in the exhibition.


Marek Żuławski (1908 Rome, Italy – 1985 London, England) Poland First to Fight, 1939 Poster Private Collection Migrated to Great Britain 1936

Żuławski studied Fine Art in Warsaw in 1926 under Felicjan Szczęsny Kowarski and Karol Tichy. In 1935 he was awarded a scholarship in France, travelled in Italy, eventually arriving in Britain early in 1936. With the invasion of Poland in September 1939, and unable to return home, he designed the iconic and patriotic propaganda poster in support of Poland, the first nation to fight back after invasions by both Germany and the USSR. Today, this iconic depiction of the proud but tattered


national flag of Poland is an enduring symbol of the Polish commitment to fight on a number of fronts: South Africa, Italy, Britain, and eventually with the Soviet Army, in campaigns to defeat Nazi Germany. It also continues to be reinterpreted and re-appropriated in contemporary contexts, its historic imagery as powerful and recognisable as much today as it was 80 years ago.

Wojciech S. Meyer (1913-1989) Polish Army Hand in Hand with Britain, 1944 Lithograph poster 50.5 x 38 cm The Polish Library, POSK in London

Poles had a significant impact on British military campaigns during the Second World War. Their best-known contribution is to the Battle of Britain where over one hundred pilots from the Polish Air Force flew in 302 and 303 Squadrons. Although the Polish pilots arrived late for the Battle, ultimately their forces shot down around 20% of all enemy aircraft destroyed (1977 in total), gaining a well-deserved reputation for courageous and aggressive aerial combat.

Wojciech Meyer is noted for a number of posters he designed for the Polish Army Education Bureau in exile in wartime London. There is little information relating to his artistic career or to the time he spent abroad; an American Library of Congress article on Polish poster design simply gives his dates. This poster, featuring the Polish and British armies, was part of a series which included designs for the Polish Airforce, Army and Navy, each hand in hand with their respective

American and British counterparts, all published in 1944, and all utilising the same motif of a Polish serviceman pictured above the clasped hands of friendship across two nations. Meyer also designed a poster to celebrate the British and Polish victory at Monte Cassino (The Battle for Rome) in the same year.


Unknown Poland – The Untold Story. Exhibition 19th February – 20th March 1945 Poster 50.5 x 38 cm The Polish Library, POSK in London

This poster proudly presents the ‘anchor’, the symbol of the Polish Resistance Movement, designed in early 1942 by Anna Smoleńska, in response to a competition. The symbol gradually evolved following its first appearance in 1939. Initially, the letters ‘PW’ (which combine to form the ‘anchor’) referred to: ‘Pomścimy Wawer’ (We shall revenge Wawer), after the Wawer Massacre in December 1939. Over time, the letters PW changed their meaning to ‘Polska Walcząca’ (‘Poland Fighting’). The


painting of the ‘anchor’ symbol as graffiti in the streets began to be used as a tactic of sabotage and psychological warfare by the Polish Boy Scouts in late 1942. This poster, promoting an exhibition held in London towards the end of the war, demonstrated the close link between the two allied nations, and reminded Britain, in particular, how much Poland had suffered and had resisted under occupation.

W. R. Szomański (1911, Baturyn – 1996, London, England) Wschodnia Afryka i nasze osiedla, 1945 Poster 81 x 46 cm The Polish Library, POSK in London Migrated to Great Britain c. 1945

In 1945 Szomański was employed as the Head Designer for the Polish Army in Italy. After the end of the war he moved to London, where he designed this poster promoting the resettlement of Polish communities in Africa during the conflict. The evacuation of Poles to East Africa took place in two waves, in March/April and in August 1942, when 13,000 Poles were sent to British colonies in Kenya, Tanganyika (Tanzania) and Uganda, creating new communities with

a full Polish cultural life, far away from the terror of war. In the postwar period Szomański continued to work as a graphic designer, creating iconic visual campaigns, particularly for the early travel industry, for airlines such as BEA and Imperial Airways (the predecessors to British Airways) and for other important clients such as Guinness and Phillips.



History And Memoir Art History and the Fight for Memory (Warsaw: Jewish Historical Institute, 2016) Ascherson, Neal, The Struggles for Poland (London: Pan Books, 1987) Davies, Norman, Trail of Hope: The Anders Army, an Odyssey Across Three Continents (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2015) Snyder, Timothy D, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010) Karpf, Anne, The War After: Living with the Holocaust (London: Heinemann, 1996)

Polish Artists/ Exhibiting Groups Borkowski, Andrzej Maria; Jaczyńska, Marysia; Jones, Penny; Schłapowska, Teresa; Sienkiewicz, Jan Wiktor; Turze, Danny (eds.). The Association of Polish Artists in Great Britain (London: Association of Polish Artists in Great Britain, 2004) Geron, Małgorzata; Malinowski, Jerzy; Sienkiewicz, Jan Wiktor, Art of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 20th-21st Centuries in Polish-Britain & Irish Art Relations (Toruń: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, 2015) Hall, Douglas, Art in Exile: Polish Painters in Post-War Britain (Bristol: Sansom and Company Ltd, 2008) Jeśmianowa, Teresa; Mausch, Hanna (eds.), Papieroplastyka Polska/Polish Paper Sculpture (London: Polish Cultural Institute, 1995) Nalecz, Halima, Three Decades of Private Views at the Drian Gallery (London: Halima Nalecz, n.d) Redfern, David, The London Group: a History 1913 - 2013 (London: The London Group, 2013) Sienkiewicz, Jan Wiktor, Artyści Andersa: continuitá e novitá (Toruń: Oficyna Wydawnicza Kucharski, 2013) Sienkiewicz, Jan Wiktor, Sztuka w Poczekalni (Toruń: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu im. Mikołaja Kopernika, 2012) Sienkiewicz, Jan Wiktor, Polskie Galerie Sztuki w Londynie w Drugiej Połowie XX Wieku (Lublin, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie, 2003) Sienkiewicz, Jan Wiktor (ed.), Słownik polskich artystów plastyków w Wielkiej Brytanii w XX wieku (tom III) (National Institute of Polish Cultural Heritage Abroad POLONIKA, 2021) Supruniuk, Mirosław, Sztuka Polska w Wielkiej Brytanii w latach 1940-2000. Antologia (Toruń: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika. 2006)

Selected Monographs / Autobiographies Bohm-Duchen, Monica, The Art and Life of Josef Herman: In Labour My Spirit Finds Itself (London: Lund Humphries, 2009) Dyson, Anthony, Passion and Paradox: The Art of Stanislaw Frenkiel (Teddington: Black Star Press, 2001) Etkind, Michael, Roman Halter, Holocaust Testimony 2: Poems by Michael Etkind, Window Designs by Roman Halter (Cambridge: Harry Balsam, 1983) Halter, Roman, Roman’s Journey (London: Portobello Books, 2007) Heibel, Annemarie, Jankel Adler: Monographie und Werkverzeichnis (2 Bände) (Münster, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, 2016)


Hodin J.P., Ruszkowski: Life and Work (London: Cory, Adams and Mackay, 1966) Lewis, Brian; Simpson, Michael (eds.), Josef Herman: Down to Earth (Castleford: Yorkshire Art Circus, 1988) Oved, Moshe (as Oyved, Moysheh), The Book of Affinity (London: Heinemann, 1933) Oved, Moshe, Visions and Jewels (London: Faber and Faber, 1950) Pery, Jenny. Caziel: The Art and Life (London: AM Publications, n.d) Platt, Dobrosława, Jak Maluje, Jestem Szczęśliwa (eds.), Janina Baranowska (London: Polish Library POSK in London, 2015) Ruszkowski, Zdzislaw, Unofficial War Artist (France: Michael Simonow, 1985) Sienkiewicz, Jan Wiktor, Marian Bohusz-Szyszko: Życie i Twórczość 1901 - 1955 (Lublin: Wydawnictwo Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski, 1995)

Exhibition and Collection Catalogues After Auschwitz: Responses to the Holocaust in Contemporary Art (Sutherland: Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, 1995) Ben Uri: 100 Years in London Art, Identity, Migration (London: Ben Uri Museum and Gallery, 2015) Bomberg’s Relevance (London: Ben Uri Gallery, the London Jewish Museum of Art, 2007) Jankel Adler: The British Years (Chichester: Pallant House, 2014) Jewish Artists: The Ben Uri Collection (London: Ben Uri Art Society, 1994) Josef Herman: Warsaw, Brussels, Glasgow, London 1938–1944 (London: Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, 2011) Karolina Borchardt (New York: Galerie Internationale, 1975) Legacies of Silence: The Visual Arts and Holocaust Memory (London: Imperial War Museum, 2001) Life and Art Through Stained Glass: Roman Halter 1927–2012 (London: Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, 2014) Out of Chaos. Ben Uri: 100 Years in London (London: Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, 2015) Pole Position: Polish Art in Britain 1939-1989 (Sheffield: Graves Gallery, 2014) Rediscovering Wolmark: a Pioneer of British Modernism (London: Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, 2004) Stanisław Frenkiel, Beirut Drawings 1944–1947 (London: Bushra Fakhoury Collection, 1986) Uproar! The First 50 Years of The London Group 1913-63 (London: Ben Uri Museum and Gallery, 2013) Rothenstein’s Relevance (London: Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, 2015) Władysław Szomański: Exhibition of Works (London: Polish Cultural Institute, 1998)

Articles Szwejka, Magdalena, ‘Sztuka Religijna Adama Kossowskiego’ Archiwum Emigracji: Studia, Szkice, Dokumenty, issue 1-2 (7-8), p. 178 - 227, 2006 Art History and the Fight for Memory (Warsaw: Jewish Historical Institute, 2016) Ascherson, Neal, The Struggles for Poland (London: Pan Books, 1987) Davies, Norman, Trail of Hope: The Anders Army, an Odyssey Across Three Continents (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2015) Snyder, Timothy D, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010) Karpf, Anne, The War After: Living with the Holocaust (London: Heinemann, 1996)


Polish Timeline:



June 1945

Polish constitution, the earliest in Europe

Founding of Polish Bank

Battle of Britain. 145 Polish soldiers fought in RAF and Polish Squadrons 302 and 303



Partition of Poland between Russia, Prussia and Austria

May Coup led by General Josef Pilsudski


Beginning of the Second World War

Beginnings of the ‘Home Army’ in Russia, many soldiers subsequently become members of the ‘Anders Army’ under General Anders

Re-founding of Poland at the end of the First World War

1 September 1939 Invasion of Poland by Germany


1919 – 1921

17 September 1939 Occupation by Russia


Polish-Soviet War

1921 Battle of Warsaw

1921 Peace of Riga: re-establishment of Polish borders

1922 Gabriel Narutowicz becomes first Polish president


Poland split between the two occupying countries

1940 – 1945 Founding and work of ‘Underground’ Poland

1940 Construction of concentration and death camps: first prisoners sent to Auschwitz. Polish Government evacuated from France to London to form a government-in-exile under President of Poland-in-exile, Władysław Raczkiewicz ‘Opening’ of the Warsaw Ghetto Katyn Massacre – 22,000 soldiers and members of intelligentsia killed


Official founding of the ‘Home Army’ in Russia, under the Sikorsky-Meyski Treaty 79,000 soldiers and 37,000 civilians later transported to Iran

1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazis. 56,000 killed or imprisoned

1944 Warsaw Uprising General Anders’ II Corp victorious at the Battle of Monte Cassino, Italy

1945 End of Second World War, the ‘Home Army’ is dissolved, establishment of western Polish borders




About 105,000 soldiers from the Anders Army arrive and settle in Britain

End of communism in Poland Poland becomes a democratic Republic

Poland hosts UEFA Championship

1947 – 1956


‘Stalinism’ in Poland

End of censorship – freedom of speech: all forbidden books, films, art etc. are now publicly accessible


2014 Ewa Kopacz becomes Prime Minister and Donald Tusk becomes Head of the European Parliament


Stalin’s Death



Last Russians troops leave Poland

Andrzej Duda becomes President of the Republic of Poland. Right-wing government

Founding of ‘Council of National Unity’ in exile



Poland joins NATO

Beata Szydło becomes Prime Minister



Poland joins the European Union

Mateusz Morawiecki becomes Prime Minister

1978 Karol Wojtyła chosen to be Pope, takes the name John Paul II



Founding of ‘Solidarnosc’ Trade Union, headed by Lech Walesa

Death of Pope John Paul II

1981 Declaration of Martial Law by General Wojciech Jaruzelski

2018 Centenary of Poland’s Independence

2010 Plane crash in Smoleńsk: death of President Lech Kaczyński, death of Ryszard Kaczorowski – last president-in-exile and 94 others

1983 End of Martial Law


Selected Polish Artists Represented in UK Public Collections

Jankel Adler

Shmuel Dresner

Marthe Hekimi

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC) Manchester Art Gallery Pallant House Gallery, Chichester National Galleries of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Swindon Art Gallery Tate Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London Imperial War Museum, London

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London

Stanisław Frenkiel

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery Bristol Museum & Art Gallery British Council Collection Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC) Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Hampshire Cultural Trust Headquarters, Winchester (Hampshire County Council’s Fine Art Collection) Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds Museums and Galleries Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / The National Library of Wales Manchester Art Gallery Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, mima National Galleries of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh National Museum Wales, Cardiff National Portrait Gallery, London Newport Museum and Art Gallery New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester Arts and Museums Service Plymouth City Council: Museum and Art Gallery Tate, London Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Teodor Axentowicz POSK Library, London

Janina Baranowska Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London Museums Sheffield: Graves Gallery POSK Collection, London

Stanisław Sławomir Blatton Sikorski Museum, London

Janina Bogucka-Wolff POSK Collection, London

Marian Bohusz-Szyszko Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London POSK Collection, London POSK Library, London The Bishop’s Palace and Chapel, Winchester St Christopher’s Hospice, London

Karolina Borchardt POSK Collection, London

Andrzej Maria Borkowski Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Kazimierz Josef Zielenkiewicz (Caziel) Whitford Fine Art, London

POSK Collection, London Royal West of England Academy, Bristol British Museum, London

Enrico Glicenstein Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London

Henryk Gotlib Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford British Academy Cardiff University Courtauld Gallery, London Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery Government Art Collection National Galleries of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh National Museum Wales, National Museum Cardiff New College, University of Oxford New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester Arts and Museums Service Pallant House Gallery, Chichester Ruth Borchard Collection Southampton City Art Gallery University of Birmingham University of Strathclyde, Glasgow University of Stirling University of Surrey Tate Victoria and Albert Museum, London Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Roman Halter Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London Imperial War Museum, London


Josef Herman

George Him Ben Uri Gallery and Museum The British Postal Museum Victoria & Albert Museum, London University of Brighton

Josef Karpf

Josef Piwowar

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London

POSK Collection, London

Andrzej Klimowski

Tadeusz Piotr Potworowski

Royal College of Art, London Polish Cultural Institute, London Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath Royal West of England Academy Tate

Włodzimierz Kołtonowski

Zdzisław Ruszkowski

Alfred Wolmark

POSK Library, London

Harlow Playhouse Scarborough Art Gallery Scarborough Art Gallery Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds Museums and Galleries POSK Collection, London Simonow Collection (France)

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford Ferens Art Gallery, Hull Derby Museum and Art Gallery Government Art Collection, London Jerwood Gallery, Hastings Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, mima National Portrait Gallery, London Southampton City Art Gallery The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds UCL Art Museum, London Ulster Museum, Belfast Tate Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Halina Korn Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London

Adam Kossowski North Peckham Civic Centre, London St Benet’s Chaplaincy, London

Andrzej Krauze University of Kent Cartoon Museum, London Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Romek Marber

Ralph Sallon Ben Uri Gallery British Cartoon Archive

Adriana Świerszczek Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London

Design Museum, London Victoria and Albert Museum (Design Archives), London

W.R. Szomański

Alicia Melamed Adams Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London Imperial War Museum, London

British Museum, London Tate, London Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Moshe Oved

Feliks Topolski

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London Tate

Bournemouth & Poole College Government Art Collection, London Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC) The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art, Woking National Trust, Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton National Portrait Gallery, London POSK Collection, London

Leopold Pilichowski Ben Uri Gallery

Lena Pilllico Ben Uri Gallery Salford Museum & Art Gallery

POSK Library, London

Franciszka and Stefan Themerson

Royal Collection, London Tate Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Mark Wayner Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London National Portrait Gallery, London

Tadeusz Znicz-Muszyński Bournemouth and Poole College POSK Collection, London

Marek Żuławski Aberystwyth University School of Art Museum and Galleries Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London County Hall, Leicestershire County Council Artworks Collection POSK Collection. London The Ruth Borchard Collection UCL Art Museum, London Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Selected Polish Artists Represented in Polish Collections

Jankel Adler

Adam Kossowski

Muzeum Sztuki w Łodz (Art Museum in Łódź) Uniwersytet Jagielloński

Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Teodor Axentowicz

Muzeum Zamek Gorków w Szamotułach

National Museum in Warsaw National Museum in Poznan

Leopold Pilichowski

Janina Baranowska Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Marian Bohusz-Szyszko Muzeum Narodowe w Gdańsku (National Museum in Gdańsk) Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Janina Bogucka-Wolff

Andrzej Kuhn

Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie (National Museum in Cracow) Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (National Museum in Warsaw) Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi (Art Museum in Łódź) Jewish Historical Institute

Josef Piwowar Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Tadeusz Piotr Potworowski

Andrzej Maria Borkowski Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

National Museum in Poznan National Museum in Warsaw National Museum in Cracow

Kazimierz Josef CAZIEL Zielenkiewicz

Zdzisław Ruszkowski

Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Joanna Ciechanowska

W.R. Szomański

Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Stanislaw Frenkiel

Franciszka and Stefan Themerson

Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

National Library of Poland, Warsaw

Henryk Gotlib

Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

National Museum, Warsaw,

Andrzej Klimowski Poster Gallery, Warsaw

Halina Korn Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji National Museum in Warsaw National Museum in Poznań University Museum in Toruń


Feliks Topolski

Tadeusz Znicz-Muszyński Poznan National Museum, Poznan, Poland

Marek Żuławski Muzeum Uniwersyteckie w Toruniu Zbiory Archiwum Emigracji

Picture Credits and Copyright

All photographs are courtesy Justin Piperger unless otherwise stated. All reasonable efforts have ben made to obtain copyright where applicable.

Boundary Gallery

Ben Uri Collection and Archive:

Matthew Bateson:

All Ben Uri Collection and Ben Uri Archive photographs are © Ben Uri Gallery and Museum.

Janina Baranowska Crucifixion; Portrait © The Artist Slawomir Blatton Untitled © The Artist Marian Bohusz-Szysko Winter Landscape © The Artist’s Estate, reproduced with permission of St Christopher’s Hospice Piotr Potworowski Self-Portrait © Artist’s Estate Feliks Topolski Old England; Bertrand Russell © Artist’s Estate

Jankel Adler Wounded (Portrait of a Man in a cap) © Artist’s Estate Ernest Borough Johnson Portrait of Wolmark © Artist’s Estate Shmuel Dresner Pages from the Diary of David Rubinowicz © Artist’s Estate Enrico Glicenstein né Enoch Hendryk Portrait of Israel Zangwill; Self-Portrait © Artist’s Estate Henryk Gotlib Self-Portrait with Pipe © Artist’s Estate Roman Halter 74 Chodecz and Dorset © Artist’s Estate Marthe Hekimi née Marta Szostakowska La Grande Peur du Monde © Artist’s Estate Josef Herman Refugees; Study for ‘In Memory of the Fighters for the Warsaw Ghetto’; Tribute to Goya’s Black Pictures (In Memory for the Fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto) © Artist’s Estate George Him Israel and the World Powers © Artist’s Estate Josef Karpf Still Life © Artist’s Estate Isaac Lichtenstein The Blind Fiddler © Artist’s Estate Alicia Melamed Adams Tears © Artist’s Estate Moshe Oved Head of an Eastern Mystical Jew © Artist’s Estate Leopold Pilichowski Old Man in a Blue Smock © Artist’s Estate Lena Pilllico Cottages in the Country © Artist’s Estate Ralph Sallon né Rachmiel David Zelon (Zieluń) Portrait of Herbert Morrison © Artist’s Estate Adriana Świerszczek The Abduction of Europa © The Artist Stefan and Franciszka Themerson The Table that Ran Away to the Woods © Themerson Estate Mark Wayner né Weiner William Rothenstein © Artist’s Estate Alfred Wolmark Last Days of Rabbi Ben Ezra, Dreamers of the Ghetto from Illustrations to Israel Zangwill © Artist’s Estate Marek Zulawski Seated Nude (from Susanna and The Elders) © Artist’s Estate

Henryk Gotlib Surrey Landscape / Landscape with Black and White Cows © Artist’s Estate

Magda Blasinska: Ground; Stalin’s Revenge © The Artist

Andrzej Maria Borkowski: Back Home; Girl in a Crocodile Mask © The Artist photography © A M Borkowski

Joanna Ciechanowska: Boris Johnson © The Artist photography © The Artist

Anabel Hodin: Zdzisław Ruszkowski, Pamela (Looking Down the Harbour) © Artist’s Estate

Maciej Jedrzejewski: ‘Home Sweet Home’ © The Artist photography © The Artist

Andrzej Krauze: September; 11, Untitled © The Artist

Malgorzata Lapsa-Malawska Women’s Strength; Taste of Freedom/Give Childhood Back to Children © The Artist photography © The Artist

Maja Ngom All That They Hide from Themselves/Encrusted Island © The Artist photography © The Artist


Picture Credits and Copyright

POSK LIbrary

Magda Skupinska

Anonymous Poland – The Untold Story Teodor Axentowicz The Parting © Artist’s Estate Marian Bohusz-Szyszko Portrait of Norwid © Artist’s Estate, reproduced with permission of St Christopher’s Hospice Wlodzimierz Koltonowski Untitled © Artist’s Estate W Meyer Polish Army – Hand in Hand with Britain published by the Polish Army Education Bureau © Artist’s Estate Wladyslaw R Szomanski Wschodnia Afryka i nasze osiedla, 1945 © Artist’s Estate Marek Zulawski Poland First to Fight © Artist’s Estate

Sundown © The Artist and Maximillian William

POSK Polish Social & Cultural Association Janina Bogucka-Wolff Portrait of a Woman verso Gipsy © Artist’s Estate Marian Bohusz-Szysko Birth of Man © The Artist’s Estate, reproduced with permission of St Christopher’s Hospice Karolina Borchardt Madonna and Child © Artist’s Estate Stanislaw Frenkiel Squeak’s Miraculous Escape © Artist’s Estate Josef Piwowar Horse with Three Legs © Artist’s Estate Zdzisław Ruszkowski Portrait of Anna and Kasia © Artist’s Estate Jan Wieliczko Blue Lancer © Artist’s Estate Tadeusz Znicz-Muszyński Vertical Movement © Artist’s Estate

Private Collections Stanislaw Frenkiel Egypt 1944, Girls in a Doorway; Incantations; Lady in Red Hat © Artist’s Estate Josef Kaprf Auschwitz © Artist’s Estate. Halina Korn, Woman with Beads © Artist’s Estate Marek Zulawski, The Angler II © Artist’s Estate Adam Kossowski Polish Prisoners of War in Kharkov Prison 1939 © Artist’s Estate Andrzej Kuhn Roundel © Artist’s Estate Jan and Kaszik Wieliczko Album © Artists’ Estates

Hanna Puskarz PL_Land © Hanna Puskarz photography © The Artist


Whitford Fine Art Caziel né Kazimierz Józef Zielenkiewicz Composition WC 768 © Artist’s Estate photography © Whitford Fine Art.

Polish Translations of Essays


Sztuka z “Krain Krwi”. Stulecie polskiej sztuki w Wielkiej Brytanii.

Wprowadzenie Amerykański historyk Timothy D Snyder w swojej opublikowanej w 2010 roku książce ukuł termin “Krainy Krwi” (“Bloodlands”), aby opisać rozległe obszary między Berlinem a Moskwą, pośród których leży dzisiejsza Polska, gdzie 14 milionów niewalczącej ludności zostało zamordowanej w latach 1933-1945 podczas panowania rządów Hitlera oraz w reżimie stalinowskim. Biorąc pod uwagę ten dramatyczny tytuł jako punkt wyjścia, niniejsza publikacja jest pokłosiem drugiej wystawy trwającego cyklu wydarzeń w galerii Ben Uri, które naświetlają kulturowy wkład uchodźców i imigrantów w Wielkiej Brytanii. Następująca po Uchodźcach: artyści z nazistowskich Niemiec w Wielkiej Brytanii wystawa jak i towarzysząca jej publikacja Sztuka z Krain Krwi (Art Out of the Bloodlands) przedstawiają polskich artystów, którzy od ponad 100 lat obecni są w tym kraju. To zainteresowanie tematem jest szczególne uzasadnione w momencie, kiedy polska społeczność, latem 2017 roku w Wielkiej Brytanii osiągnęła liczbę miliona obywateli. To wpisuje ową społeczność na pozycję największej liczebnie mniejszości etnicznej w kraju. Polska w 2018 roku obchodzi również stulecie odzyskania niepodległości, jako państwo utworzone na nowo po I wojnie światowej. W kontekście artystycznym rok 2017 jest uważany za stulecie zaangażowania Polski w sztukę awangardową. Rocznica ta upamiętnia otwarcie pierwszej wystawy grupy “Ekspresjonistów polskich” w dniu 4 listopada 1917 r. w Krakowie. Kiedyś to był największy kraj Europy, z pierwszą pisemną konstytucją na kontynencie, wielonarodowa ‘Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów’, państwo które zniknęło z mapy podzielone między Rosję, Prusy i Austrię w 1795 roku. Sytuacja rodzącej się niepodległości w 1918 roku przetrwała do jesieni 1939 roku, kiedy Polska ponownie została podzielona pomiędzy Nazistowskie Niemcy i ZSRR. Po drugiej wojnie światowej pozostała w sowieckiej strefie wpływów aż do 1989 roku, kiedy jej obywatelom udało się odzyskać suwerenność i przywrócić demokratyczne rządy. W 2004 roku kraj ten przystąpił do Unii Europejskiej. Ze względu na specjalny status Londynu jako dawnej siedziby Rządu RP na uchodźstwie, którego działalność trwała od roku 1940, poprzez połowę XX wieku, a także rolę Wielkiej Brytanii jako kraju, w którym wielu polskich emigrantów wybrało i nadal wybiera osiedlanie się, projekt Sztuka z “Krain Krwi” (Art Out of the Bloodlands) skupia się wokół niezwykłej opowieści o perypatetycznym narodzie, który nigdy nie porzucił marzeń o wolności, dumnie podtrzymując patriotyczne ideały, przesycone narodową historią, kulturą oraz religią.


Główna narracja biegnie dwutorowo, odzwierciedla doświadczenia polskiej społeczności w Wielkiej Brytanii oraz ostatnie burzliwe dzieje Polski, w kontekście sztuki śledząc skomplikowane fale migracji artystów – zarówno żydowskiego jak i nie żydowskiego pochodzenia- uciekających z kolejnych reżimów, gdzie doświadczyli jakiegoś rodzaju represji, byli więzieni oraz internowani, a w konsekwencji musieli przemierzać kontynenty. W odróżnieniu od dzisiejszej sytuacji, gdzie grupy migracyjne Polaków dokonały świadomych wyborów i przeniosły się do Wielkiej Brytanii w celu rozpoczęcia nauki czy rozwoju profesji. Wystawa Sztuka z “Krain Krwi” (Art Out of the Bloodlands) łączy ze sobą stulecie dzieł sztuki oraz materiałów archiwalnych autorstwa, zarówno znanych, jak i wybijająych się artystów urodzonych w Polsce. Artefakty pochodzą zarówno z kolekcji Ben Uri jak i szeregu zewnętrznych źródeł, których większość to polonijna społeczność w Londynie. Projekt stanowi próbę przyjrzenia się złożonej problematyce pojęć tożsamości oraz migracji.

Ben Uri oraz polski wkład Być może zaskakującym wydaje się fakt, że w Wielkiej Brytanii od ponad 100 lat obecna jest polska sztuka współczesna, o czym świadczą zapisy The London Group i Towarzystwa Sztuki Ben Uri - utworzone odpowiednio w 1913 i 1915 roku w stolicy. I choć niemożliwym wydaje się umiejscowienie tych różnorodnych polskich artystów pod wspólnym sztandarem, jednej narodowej szkoły zagranicą, nie byłoby błędnym stwierdzenie, że większość z nich ma “wspólną tradycję”. Podobnie jest w przypadku niemieckich emigrantów z lat 1933-45, których praktyka artystyczna definiowana była przez pryzmat ‘ekspresjonizmu’. W rezultacie ten rodzaj twórczości spotkał się z niewielką popularnością wśród brytyjskich kolekcjonerów, którym bliska była francuska estetyka. Pisarz i krytyk sztuki Hebert Read we wprowadzeniu katalogu zawarł komentarz do wystawy Modern German Art , która odbyła się w New Burlington Gallery w Londynie w 1938 roku, gdzie pokazano 31 “zdegenerowanych” artystów: “Nie byłoby nieprawdą stwierdzenie, że ogółowi publiczności w Wielkiej Brytanii niemiecka sztuka jest zupełnie nieznana”- do tego można dodać nieznajomość polskiego malarstwa. Wielu malarzy początków XX wieku było produktem renomowanych polskich uczelni plastycznych: krakowskiej Akademii Sztuk Pięknych (Marian Bohusz- Szyszko, Caziel, Stanisław Frenkiel, Henryk Gotlib, Zdzisław Ruszkowski i Feliks Topolski) czy warszawskiej szkoły artystycznej (Franciszka Themerson, Marek Żuławski). Pozostawali oni nie tylko pod wpływem poprzedniego pokolenia polskich malarzy pochodzenia żydowskiego, takich jak Maurycy Gottlieb (1856-79) i

Samuel Hirszenberg (1865-1908), ale również szeregu awangardowych grup, takich jak Formiści i Kapiści . W związku z tym znaczna część dzieł zaprezentowanych na wystawie Sztuka z “Krain Krwi” charakteryzuje się nadrzędną troską o kolor i formę, silną ekspresją malarską i wiarą w dzieło sztuki jako nośnik awangardowych teorii, często w kontekście samej figuracji. Pierwsza część tej publikacji poświęcona jest twórczości artystów, znajdujących się w kolekcji Ben Uri (obecnie liczy ona około 1400 prac), nakreślając pierwsze dwie główne fale migracji do Wielkiej Brytanii z ziem polskich. Pierwsza z nich dotyczy tych, którzy uciekli z Rosyjskiej Strefy Osiedlenia przed końcem pierwszej wojny światowej. Prawdopodobnie chcieli uniknąć pogromów i prześladowań, szukając przy okazji lepszych warunków ekonomicznych. Samo Towarzystwo Sztuki Ben Uri zostało założone przez rosyjskiego emigranta / rzemieślnika, Lazara Bersona w Whitechapel, sercu londyńskiego getta żydowskiego East Endu. Wielu ważnych członków organizacji urodziło się na polskiej ziemi, do przykładów należą Alfred Wolmark (wiceprezes od 1923-1956); Mosehe Oved (wcześniej Eduard Goodack / Good, Ben Uri Council od 1915-52 i wiceprezes w latach 1934-56), odpowiedzialny za umożliwienie przeprowadzenia wielu wczesnych akwizycji zapoczątkowanych przez towarzystwo; i 5. Leopold Pillichowski (wiceprezes w latach 1923-24 i honorowy prezes w latach 1930-33). Jego żona, Lena Pillico, została uhonorowana pierwszą indywidualną wystawą pod patronatem Ben Uri, która odbyła się w jej studiu, na St John’s Wood w 1927 roku. Zaledwie dwa lata po tym, jak towarzystwo otworzyło swoją pierwszą galerię, gdzie na przeciwko British Museum, w dzielnicy West End zainaugurowana została wystawa składająca się z nowo nabytej kolekcji. Badania przeprowadzone dla niniejszej publikacji wykazały znaczącą rolę Marthe Hekimi, która w rzeczywistości urodziła się w Łodzi jako Marta Szostakowska. Wielokrotnie wystawiana w Europie w latach 30. XX wieku., wraz z Sophie Korner wzięła udział w szóstej wystawie Ben Uri, która odbyła się dokładnie 70 lat temu, w 1947 roku. Ben Uri dziś kontynuuje wsparcie dla kobiet-artystek; 27% reprezentowanych w kolekcji artystów to kobiety - liczba ta jest znacznie wyższa od średniej wartości procentowej w kolekcjach krajowych i regionalnych. Natomiast zacięta debata nad przyszłymi losami Ben Uri nieustannie trwa. Wielu artystów urodzonych na obszarach ówczesnej Polski oraz dzieci imigrantów zaczęły wyróżniać się w brytyjskich kręgach artystycznych w pierwszych dwóch dekadach XX wieku. Związana z gettem East Endu i znana jako grupa Whitechapel Boys w kwietniu 1920 roku została odkryta przez krytyka magazynu “TIS” Color (Herbert Furst, późniejszy krytyk sztuki w Apollo). Pisał: “niezwykłe zjawisko [...] wielki talent artystyczny. Epstein, Wolmark, Kramer, Meninsky, Bomberg i [Philip] Naviasky reprezentują, jak sądzę, pierwsze brytyjskie pokolenie polskich Żydów “. W pierwszej części publikacji Sztuka z “Krain Krwi” znalazły się także prace niewielkiej grupy artystów urodzonych w Polsce, którzy przebywali w Wielkiej Brytanii, lecz nie osiedlili się w niej na stałe - choć ich sztuka pozostawiła ślad w Ben Uri: 7 Henry Glicenstein, sławny rzeźbiarz, został owacyjnie przyjęty przez towarzystwo w 1921 r., jak zapisano w języku Jidisz oraz zebrano fundusze na zakup kilku dzieł, które następnie zostały

pokazane na otwarciu wystawy w 1925 r . Również Isaac Lichtenstein, urodzony w Łodzi - związany z L’Ecole de Paris Juif - przebywał krótko w Londynie w latach dwudziestych. We współpracy z Ben Uri zaprojektował drugie logo towarzystwa, zaraz po odejściu fundatora i założyciela organizacji, Lazara Bersona. Zasoby Ben Uri składające się z pracy polskich artystów są stale wzbogacane, co nie jest szczególnym zaskoczeniem. Do przykąłdów należy druga fala polsko- żydowskiej migracji oraz ci ocaleni z Holokaustu, którzy od 1939 roku uciekali przed terrorem rządów Hitlera. Do tej grupy artystów należą: 8. Jankel Adler, 9. Roman Halter, 10. Josef Herman, 11. Shmul Dresner i Alicia Melamed Adams. Ta ostatnia, obecnie ponad dziewięćdziesięcioletnia artystka jest jedyną ocaloną uczennicą Brunona Schultza, znanego żydowskiego pisarza i artysty, który uważany jest za jedną z najważniejszych polskich postaci literackich początków XX wieku. Sam zamordowany został przez gestapo w 1942 roku. Towarzystwo Ben Uri utrzymywało kontakty zarówno z polską jak i szerszą społecznością emigracyjną dzięki działającemu w przeszłości klubowi Ohel. To w dużej mierze filantropijne stowarzyszenie zostało założone pod koniec 1942 r. przez polsko-żydowskich emigrantów, braci Aleksandra (1902-1991, przewodniczącego Ben Uri w latach 1965-86 r., i członka rady dzielnicowej w latach 1948-1986) i Benziona Marguliesa (1890-1955). Klub oferował “centrum politycznej, społecznej i kulturalnej działalności polskiego żydostwa “, a członkostwo obejmowało artystów, takich jak Josef Herman, pisarzy oraz myślicieli politycznych. Czołowe galerie sztuki prowadzone przez emigrantów oraz cenione wystawy w lokalnych muzeach również zachowały polską obecność; Jankel Adler, Henryk Gotlib, Josef Herman i Władysław Ruszkowski, byli czterema z dziesięciu pierwszych artystów, którzy zostali pokazani w Brytyjskiej Szkole Kontynentalnej Helen Kapp w Galerii Miejskiej w mieście Wakefield w 1959 roku. Te same pięć nazwisk pojawiło się w czołówce z Martinem Blochem w Campbell i Franks na wystawie Six Continental British Artists w 1977 roku. Obie inicjatywy stanowiły część niezrealizowanego projektu profesora Hodina, aby stworzyć i promować jedną, spójną “szkołę” artystów na emigracji w Wielkiej Brytanii. Podobnie jak w przypadku nabywania większości dzieł sztuki dokonanych podczas pierwszych trzech dziesięcioleci trwania Ben Uri, wiele z tych prac nie zostało zakupionych w ramach przemyślanej strategii, były raczej wynikiem darowizn. Również dotyczyły corocznych wystaw prac kolekcji Ben Uri, zainicjowanych w 1934 roku, dając możliwość wystawiania się stale przybywającym, współczesnym artystom pochodzenia żydowskiego, emigrantom, spośród których wielu osiedliło się w północno-zachodnim Londynie. (Tak przynajmniej jest w przypadku polskich artystów: Ruszkowski i Herman mieszkali w Hampstead, Pilichowscy byli w St John’s Wood, a Żuławski przeniósł się do dawnej pracowni brytyjskiego edwardiańskiego rzeźbiarza, Gilberta Bayesa, w Greville Place- NW8, jego pracownię dzieliły tylko metry od aktualnej galerii Ben Uri). W kolekcji Ben Uri znajdują się znaczące zasoby polskich ilustratorów i rysowników, w tym 12 Ralpha Sallona, urodzonego jako Rachmiel David Zelon (Zieluń), który był rezydującym karykaturzystą w Jewish Chronicle do 1930 roku, oraz 13 Marka Waynera (Weiner). Obaj należeli do wcześniejszego pokolenia. Wybitny George Him, jeden z twórców


znanego kolektywu projektantów, Him-LeWitt, założonego w 1933 roku w Warszawie i przeniesionego do Londynu przed wybuchem wojny, między innymi dzięki staraniom V & A.

Od armii Andersa po Unię Europejską Druga część publikacji Sztuka z “Krain Krwi”(Art Out of the Bloodlands) skupia się wokół twórczości artystów pochodzenia nieżydowskiego (wyjątkami są Gotlib i Frenkiel, z których żaden nie był praktykujący, chociaż mieli żydowskie pochodzenie). Obejmuje również tych, którzy bądź utkwili w Wielkiej Brytanii wraz z wybuchem wojny i nie byli zdolni wrócić do domu lub wstąpili do Polskich Sił Zbrojnych i przebywali na Zachodzie od 1939 roku. Wśród nich znajdowali się weterani wojenni, którzy w latach 40. XX wieku przybyli jako część zastępów Armii Andersa. Dziś kolejną grupę stanowią młodzi artyści, którzy zdecydowali się świadomie przyjechać do Wielkiej Brytanii - ponad 70 lat później - ze względów edukacyjnych lub zawodowych. Dzieła sztuki pożyczane przez galerie, polskie instytucje, takie jak POSK (Polski Ośrodek SpołecznoKulturowy) (które jak w przypadku Ben Uri stały się repozytoriami dzieł sztuki w obrębie własnej społeczności) od prywatnych kolekcjonerów czy bezpośrednio od artystów i ich rodzin naświetlają sylwetki twórców, którzy często zachowują wyraźne poczucie tożsamości narodowej, pomimo translokacji kulturowej. Stale pojawiają się wspólne tematy oraz ta sama ikonografia - obrazy polskiej kawalerii, mrocznych lasów Europy Wschodniej, elementy folkloru, rzemiosła oraz polskiego katolicyzmu. Wielu przedstawicieli poprzednich pokoleń zostało uwięzionych lub deportowanych w głąb ZSRR, jesienią 1939 roku podczas okupacji i aneksji Polski przez nazistowskie Niemcy i Związek Radziecki, podczas gdy inni uciekli, aby kontynuować walkę z tyranią, tu na emigracji w Wielkiej Brytanii przyłączając się do Polskich Sił Zbrojnych na Zachodzie. Na znaczącą obecność polskich artystów w Szkocji składają się dwie wystawy z okresu wojny, 1940 i 1941 roku. Na pierwszej wystawie Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Polish Artists, która odbyła się w T & R Annan & Sons of Sauchiehall Street w Glasgow zaprezentowano 85 prac pięciu artystów, między innymi: Gotliba, Topolskiego i Żuławskiego. W tym samym czasie zaprezentowana została wystawa Exhibition of Works by Artists of Our Allies Belgium Czechoslovakia France Greece Jugoslavia Nederlands Norway Poland under the auspices of the British Council May 1941 (Wystawa prac artystów naszych sojuszników Belgia Czechosłowacja Francja Grecja Jugosławia Holandia Norwegia Polska pod auspicjami British Council maj 1941) w National Gallery of Scotland w Edynburgu. Wystawiono ponad 400 prac (obejmujących rzeźbę i metaloplastykę) ze znacząco przeważającym udziałem Polaków, w tym Gotliba, projektanta kolektywu Levitta-Him, Ruszkowskiego, Topolskiego i Żuławskiego. Wielu spośród deportowanych z Sowieckiej Rosji odbyło w konsekwencji niebezpieczną podróż z Syberii i Azji Środkowej, wraz z Polskimi Siłami Zbrojnymi na Wschodzie pod dowództwem generała Władysława Andersa przez Iran, Palestynę i Włochy. Co ciekawe, przy wsparciu finansowemu Rządu RP na Uchodźstwie w Londynie oraz światłej strategii samego generała Andersa, tak zwana “Armia Andersa” zapewniła poprzez Centrum Kultury i Edukacji żołnierzom-artystom studia oraz możliwość wystawiania podczas ich długiej drogi na wygnaniu. Wielu spośród tych artystów zostało ujętych w ważnej


publikacji Douglasa Halla, Art in Exile, Polish Painters in Post-war Britain (Sztuka na wygnaniu, Polscy malarze w powojennej Wielkiej Brytanii (2008). A następnie wspierani w Londynie przez polską przestrzeń wystawienniczą Centaur Gallery, czy Drian and Grabowski Galleries. Niektórzy dołączyli do Grupa 49, The London Group oraz Stowarzyszenia Polskich Artystów Plastyków (APA, założonej w 1955 r.), oferując wszystkie możliwości wystawiennicze. W tym kontekście radosna runda Andrzeja Kuhna obchodzi 40-lecie Centaur Gallery, założonej przez polskiego pilota, Jana Wieliczko, aby zaoferować swoim rodakom możliwości wystawienia w północno-zachodnim Londynie. Wrażenia z podróży Andersa znajdują odzwierciedlenie w pracach, takich jak zapadajacy w pamięć leśny rysunek Koltonowskiego, inspirowany rosyjskim malarstwem XIX wieku, i przesycony namiętnym polskim folklorom. Tą pracę, zwiniętą w rulon artysta miał zawsze przy sobie, stale przerabiał na przestrzeni czternastu lat, o czym świadczy napis w dolnym lewym rogu, trajektoria, która jest tak dobrze znana tym Polakom, którzy wiele lat docierali do Wielkiej Brytanii przez Bliski Wschód, Włochy i Francję. Ta niebywale żmudna podróż jest również udokumentowana w albumie z wytłoczoną postacią orła autorstwa Jana Wieliczki, który tworzył we współpracy ze swoim bratem pilotem. Album kończy się na szczęśliwym przybyciu do Wielkiej Brytanii oraz wschodzącej karierze artystycznej, kiedy opuszcza każdego dnia swoją brytyjską bazę lotniczą, aby studiować scenografię u Władimira Polunina w renomowanej szkole artystycznej Slade w Londynie. Ruszkowski zapisywał także swoje doświadczenia z wojskiem i armią za pomocą obrazów, które znalazły się w zbiorze pt. Unofficial War Artist (Nieoficjalny artysta wojenny). Janina Baranowska przybyła do Anglii w 1946 roku, a jej lata na wygnaniu uniemożliwiają studiowanie sztuki; następnie, na początku lat 50., zapisała się z Davidem Bombergiem na Borough Road, wychwalając umiejętności nauczyciela, który podkreślał istotę formy i kompozycji. Jej pracy Borough Portrait (Portretowi Miejskiemu) towarzyszy późniejsze Ukrzyżowanie, które wiele zawdzięcza ekspresjonistycznemu wpływowi jej następnego nauczyciela, Mariana Bohusza-Szyszko, założyciela Polskiej Szkoły Sztuki w Londynie. Głęboko uduchowiony artysta, ostatecznie poślubił Dame Cecily Saunders, założycielkę Ruchu Hospicjum w Anglii; wiele z jego prac nadal jest wystawianych w Hospicjum św. Krzysztofa w Sydenham, w południowo-wschodnim Londynie. Stanisław Frenkiel, charyzmatyczny członek emigracyjnej polskiej społeczności artystycznej, której słynna podróż z Armią Andersa obejmowała rejony w Bejrucie i Kairze. Stworzył obrazy wnętrz z żywymi studiami postaci w obu miastach. Ostatecznie przybył do Wielkiej Brytanii, studiował różne kierunki w Courtauld Institute of Art, był zatrudniony przez Instytut Edukacji; uczył sztuki w szkołach, pisał teksty krytyczne; nadawał transmisję w języku polskim dla BBC, sporo malował, tworzył dzieła idiosynkratyczne, których styl i treść wpisują się gdzieś pomiędzy Georgesa Rouaulta a Otto Dixa, gdzie zderzają się mit, historia malarstwa, humor z tracącą drwiną, w domowej atmosferze. Kolorowe kobiety z Bliskiego Wschodu Janiny Boguckiej, wykonane w podróży Andersa, kontrastują z monochromatycznymi szkicami prostytutek z Kairu autorstwa Frenkiela. Natomiast ZniczMuszyński, inny artysta Andersa, jest niezwykły, ponieważ jego spiczaste,

inspirowane krajobrazem dzieło, zamiast patrzeć na polską kulturę, odzwierciedla wpływ brytyjskich artystów z połowy wieku, takich jak Graham Sutherland.

do Afryki, ale raczej praca dokumentująca zjawisko przesiedlania polskich społeczności do Afryki Wschodniej w czasie wojny i okresie powojennym.

W innym łuku narracyjnym znaleźli się Topolski, Gotlib i Żuławski, gdzie pułapką stała się dla nich Wielka Brytania. Nie mogli wrócić do Polski. Gotlib, ze swoim niezwykłym podejściem do formy i koloru, stworzył wysoce osobistą wizję Anglii; chociaż miał on pewne uznanie krytyków, sukces komercyjny był ograniczony, szczególnie w czasach, gdy abstrakcja znajdowała się w orbicie popularności. Jednak jego autoportret w płaszczu marynarskim był ostatnio częścią małego pokazu w National Portrait Gallery w Londynie wiosną 2017 roku: Emigres: Twentieth century Self-portraits by Artists from Abroad (Emiganci: Autoportrety artystów z zagranicy z XX wieku) (w tym także prace Josefa Hermana i Jankel Adlera, znajdujące się zarówno w zbiorach Ben Uri, jak i na wystawie Sztuka z “Krain Krwi”(Art Out of the Bloodlands.) Autoportret Piotra Potworowskiego przedstawia podobny obraz autorefleksji; jest jedynym artystą Sztuki z “Krain Krwi”(Art Out of the Bloodlands), który powrócił do Polski w 1958 roku, po pełnymsukcesów okresie nauczania w renomowanej i postępowej szkole artystycznej w Corsham Court. Ostatecznie umiera w swojej ojczyźnie, w 1962 roku.

Wkład do brytyjskiego projektowania publikacji książkowych jest również godny uwagi: Sztuka z “Krain Krwi”(Art Out of the Bloodlands) zawiera okładki serii powieści Penguin Crime autorstwa Romka Marbera (którego prace są obecnie gromadzone przez archiwa projektowe w V & A); opowiadania dla dzieci napisane i zilustrowane przez Themersonów oraz wylewne kieszonkowe podręczniki dla najmłodszych, zaprojektowane przez Jana Pieńkowskiego. Jego składane formy z papieru wiele zawdzięczają tradycyjnym polskim wycinankom. Nadal tworzący ilustrator, Andrzeja Krauze prezentuje potężne rysunki z gazety The Guardian, które nie wymagają podpisów, komentując bez słów naszą często traumatyczną współczesną historię globalną. Joanna Ciechanowska podnosi nastrój humorem karykatur, z cyklu prezentowanego w Ognisku Polskim w South Kensington, stworzonego przy pomocy narzędzia artysty XXI wieku, iPhone’a.

Żuławski, przybywający do Wielkiej Brytanii w 1936 roku, stał się popularny w pierwszej kolejności dzięki swojemu przełomowemu projektowi plakatu: Poland First to Fight (Polska pierwsza w walce), który został stworzony w 1939 roku jako wezwanie do walki, a następnie stał się wielkim dziełem ekspresjonistycznym, prawdopodobnie w wyniku powojennej przyjaźni z emigrantem Polakiem Josefem Hermanem. Jego dzieło Angler II przywodzi na myśl lite figury górników Hermana oraz idee szlachetności pracy, podczas gdy jego wspaniały panel ogrodzeniowy wykonany do kawiarni Garden Café w 1951 roku w Wielkiej Brytanii oraz pawilon na Festival of Britain Homes and Gardens (obecnie zniszczony) uwieczniły portrety Brytyjczyków spędzających wolny czas na świeżym powietrzu, przedstawionych w prostych, pogniecionych ubraniach. Uprzedziło to jego późniejszy styl. Swoją pierwszą żonę, Halinę Korn ukazał w przejmującej pracy, w formie rzeźby, która prezentuje kobietę o wyraźnym, niespokojnym stanie umysłu oraz sam moment uwolnienia, jakiego doznała dzięki sztuce. Fach zdobyła sama przy nieocenionym wsparciu męża. Równoległa narracja naświetla ważny wkład Polski w sztukę graficzną, plakaty, okładki książek, ilustracje i kreskówki. Plakaty wydawane przez Polską Służbę Informacyjną podczas wojny służyły edukowaniu brytyjskiej opinii publicznej, podkreślając bliskość dwóch sprzymierzonych narodów, których armie szły razem w “szeregu”. Oczywiście polskich starań militarnych nie można lekceważyć, a Polskie Siły Powietrzne w szczególności przyczyniły się do sukcesu bitwy o Anglię. Wsparcie dla polskich żołnierzy-artystów w nowym kraju było znaczne o czym świadczy również opublikowany jesienią 1942 roku katalog wystawy. Postępowy dyrektor Galerii Sztuki Leicester poświęcił wystawę pięciu polskim artystom - żołnierzom, która trwała od 3 października do 1 listopada 1942 r.

W kolejnej późnej fali migracyjnej lat 80. do Wielkiej Brytanii wyemigrowali Joanna Ciechanowska i były performer teatralny A. M. Borkowski, aby uciec od stanu wojennego w Polsce, narzuconego przez reżim komunistyczny w celu ograniczenia działań opozycji politycznej. Od 1989 roku, wraz z nadejściem demokracji, otwierają się twórcze możliwości pracy i nauki, zachęcając nowe pokolenie, takie jak Adriana Świerszczek, która podjęła studia podyplomowe w szkole artystycznej Slade. Aktualne tematy jej potężnego rysunku na wielką skalę “Porwanie Europy” (kolekcja Ben Uri) nie mogły być w żaden sposób przewidziane. Najmłodsi artyści na wystawie, którzy przybywają do Wielkiej Brytanii od momentu przystąpienia Polski do Unii Europejskiej w 2004 roku, w poszukiwaniu możliwości edukacyjnych i twórczych, jako prawdziwie “europejscy” obywatele, nie widzą różnicy między pracą w Paryżu, Londynie czy Berlinie. Maja Ngom, Hanna Puskarz i Maciej Jędrzejewski badają fotografię i nowe media, ale powracają do znanych tematów migracji, tożsamości, domu i przynależności. Magda Skupinska i Magda Blasinska, obie z Royal College of Art, mają różne odpowiedzi na malarstwo – Skupinska jest zainteresowana materialnością, używając naturalnych substancji takich jak chili i kminek, aby nadać teksturę i zapach, w takim samym stopniu jak operuje się kolorem; Błasińska, wychowana w gospodarstwie wiejskim, zajmuje się polskim krajobrazem, folklorem i tradycyjnym rzemiosłem. Gosia Łapsa-Malawska splata razem narodowe i osobiste historie, podkreślając ciągłe dziedzictwo drugiej wojny światowej mającej wpływ na kolejne pokolenia polskiej diaspory. Podsumowując, ponad czterdziestu uczestników wystawy Sztuka z “Krain Krwi” (Art Out of the Bloodlands) podkreśla charakterystyczny, trwały i nieprzemijalny wkład w kulturę wizualną Wielkiej Brytanii, dokonywany przez artystów i projektantów największej społeczności imigrantów w kraju.

Plakaty przypominały również odwagę polskiego ruchu oporu w Warszawie, a uderzający projekt maski plemiennej W. Szomańskiego nie był zwykłym obiektem, który reklamował egzotyczne podróże


Outsajderzy: Polsko-żydowscy uchodźcy w powojennej Wielkiej Brytanii David Herman

Mój ojciec, artysta Josef Herman, był żydowskim emigrantem polskiego pochodzenia. Przbył z Warszawy. W pierwszych latach pobytu w Wielkiej Brytanii do grona jego najbliższych przyjaciół zaliczali się polscy emigranci- artyści, poeci, filmowcy. Te przyjaźnie mówią nam wiele o szerszym kontekście migracji pisarzy i artystów-uchodźców, zwłaszcza z Polski i Europy Wschodniej. Mówią nam o rzeczach ważnych, o zesłaniu, o uchodźcach, którzy przybyli do Wielkiej Brytanii w połowie XX wieku i o tym jak ostatecznie można funkcjonować jako artysta - emigrant. Mój ojciec uciekł do Wielkiej Brytanii, zaraz po upadku Francji w 1940 roku. Wkrótce po przyjeździe spotkał poetę żydowskiego, Itzika Mangera, którego znał jeszcze z Warszawy. Aby podszkolić swój angielski, Manger próbował tłumaczyć sonety Szekspira na Jidysz. Kiedy umarł Manger, ojciec przypomniał sobie, jak późnym latem 1943 roku natknął się na niego na stacji metra Edgware Road, szukając schronienia przed nalotem. Manger był “pochylony nad swoją małą skórzaną walizką”, którą nosił ze sobą, dokądkolwiek się udawał. Zawierała ona cały jego dobytek: rękopisy. Siedział na ruchomych schodach z “fantastycznie grubym angielsko-niemieckim słownikiem, wydrukowanym w wersji kieszonkowej [...] Ważnym dla niego ćwiczeniem było znalezienie niemieckiego odpowiednika angielskiego słowa, a następnie odnalezienie w pamięci tłumaczenia na jidysz”. “Nikt nie jest tak samotny jak poeta jidysz” mawiał Manger. Po pobycie w Londynie mój ojciec udał się do Glasgow. Tam spotkał innego żydowskiego emigranta, którego znał z Polski, artystę Jankla Adlera. W Glasgow Adler dał mojemu ojcu obraz. To był dziwny obraz, ciemne, dwie ogolone głowy patrzące na widza. Inskrypcja na odwrocie obrazu brzmiała: Dwie sieroty. W tym czasie organizacja Międzynarodowego Czerwonego Krzyża skontaktowała się z moim ojcem w Glasgow i poinformowała oficjalnie, że cała jego rodzina zginęła w Warszawie. Adler był jednym z dziesięciorga dzieci. Wiedział już, że jego rodzeństwo oraz rodzice zostali zabici przez Niemców w Polsce. Namalował więc specjalnie dla mojego ojca obraz zatytułowany Dwie sieroty. Tak naprawdę obydwaj byli dwojgiem ocalałych z pogromu sierot. Podczas pobytu w Glasgow, mój ojciec dużo malował i rysował, głównie rejestrował motywy żydowskie: rodzinę, żydowskich chłopów i pasterzy, plotkujące kobiety, gawędziarzy, żebraków, skrzypków i muzyków. Ilustrował z pamięci opowiadania Peretza i Szolema Alejchema oraz wiersze i opowieści poetów jidysz, takich jak Manger i Avram Reisen. Kilka razy żałobna łuna zostaje wzburzona scenami oraz rysunkami pogromów.


Studium przedmiotu i ton można by określić mianem chagallowskich. Odtworzony świat żydowski przypomina fotografie Romana Vishniaca lub The Fiddler on the Roof (Skrzypek na dachu). Ale przede wszystkim jest jak Chagall. Jego biograf, krytyk sztuki i historyk Monica BohmDuchen z pewnością ma rację, gdy mówi: “w sztuce brytyjskiej nie odnajdziemy nic, co byłoby podobne do tych motywów.” Pisząc o tych rysunkach ponad 30 lat później, mój ojciec powiedział: “Dzisiaj, po tylu latach, patrzę na te rysunki i obrazy, jakby były wykonane przez kogoś innego [uzupełnienie autora]. Ale w głębi duszy wiem, że są częścią mnie, zapisem wspomnień, mojego dzieciństwa, ludzi, teatru, historii, życia; wszystkie wywołują nostalgię; a ta nostalgia jest tłem całej mojej pracy w Glasgow w latach 1940-1943”. Nigdy więcej nie stworzył podobnych obrazów. Żydowski motyw tych rysunków zniknął z jego praktyki. Nigdy więcej w twórczości nie przedstawił swojej rodziny. Zaskakuje również fakt, że sama praktyka zniknęła prawie bez śladu. Rysunki i obrazy scen z życia żydowskiej społeczności, które zdominowały jego twórczość w Glasgow, zniknęły na ponad czterdzieści lat i nie były dostępne dla publiczności aż do momentu wystawy Memory of Memories z przełomu 1984-85. Nikt o nich nie wiedział. Zniknęły. Josef nie mówił ani nie pisał o tym precedensie w swojej twórczości. Odniósł się do nich dopiero we wspomnieniach zatytułowanych Related Twilights (1975), zaledwie w trzech akapitach. W żadnej z książek nie wspomina się o jego dziełach z lat 50., 60. i 70., kiedy cieszył się wysokim uznaniem. Nie zostały również zakupione do kolekcji publicznych instytucji. Zamiast tego malował uniwersalne obrazy górników i robotników, bez rysu żydowskości, bez echa Polski, bez odniesienia do migracji, przesiedlenia czy utraty. To były obrazy, z których mój ojciec był najbardziej znany. Przekaz uniwersalny nie żydowski. W tym czasie spotkał się z innym poetą jidysz - AN Stenclem. Stencl urodził się w Polsce i przeniósł się do weimarskiego Berlina w 1921 roku, gdzie rozpoczął karierę literacką. Do Londynu przyjechał w 1936 roku. Podobnie jak mój ojciec, próbował stworzyć sobie nowe życie w obcym kraju. Przez ponad czterdzieści lat mieszkał w Whitechapel, gdzie pisał wiersze, opublikował ponad dwadzieścia książek oraz dziennik Loshn un Lebn. Co tak naprawdę nam mówią historie żydowskich poetów i artystów o całej fali migracji, która zalała Wielką Brytanię w połowie XX wieku? Historia tych żydowskich artystów-uchodźców jest ciekawa, o wiele dziwniejsza, niż nam się wydaje. W dziesięcioleciach bezpośrednio po

wojnie nikt nie wspominał o tym wielkim exodusie. Kiedy już historycy kultury i inteligencja zaczęli pisać o uchodźcach, ich główne wątki były zdominowane przez dwa tematy. Z jednej strony odsłaniała się historia sukcesu i triumfu. Laureaci Nagrody Nobla, wspaniali pisarze, artyści, naukowcy i filmowcy. Takie postacie jak Arthur Koestler, Lucian Freud i Ernst Gombrich, Max Perutz i Ernst Chain, Eric Hobsbawm, Emeric Pressburger i Frank Auerbach. Równolegle istniała historia, która powstawała w niemieckojęzycznej Europie Środkowej, Berlinie i Wiedniu, a nie w Warszawie czy Łodzi. To, co powoli zaczęło przenikać do ogólnej informacji w ciągu ostatnich dwudziestu lat, to fakt, że obie te historie zakwestionowano. Zaczęliśmy zdawać sobie sprawę, że nigdy nie była to po prostu opowieść o osiągnięciach i sukcesie. To inna opowieść, o wiele mroczniejsza i bardziej skomplikowana. Zaczynaliśmy również zdawać sobie sprawę, zwłaszcza że wschodnia Europa wyłaniała się z głębokiego kryzysu zimnej wojny, że uchodźcy z tej części świata również potrafili zaistnieć. Niektórzy stali się bardzo znani: polscy uchodźcy jak artysta, Feliks Topolski, laureat nagrody Nobla, Joseph Rotblat, pianistka Natalia Karp (żona Josefa Karpfa). Inni walczyli, by zdobyć swoje nazwisko na tle przytłaczających przeciwności. Mój ojciec i jego koledzy polskożydowscy uchodźcy byli na wiele sposobów outsiderami. Czyż nie zaskakującym wydaje się fakt, że poeci jidysz, tacy jak Itzik Manger i AN Stencl byli gotowi tłumaczyć i rozpowszechniać poezję jidysz w Londynie w połowie XX wieku? Na myśl przychodzi tutaj postać Mangera “pochylonego nad swoją małą skórzaną walizką” na stacji metra przy Edgware Road. “Nikt nie jest tak samotny jak poeta jidysz”. W sytuacji marginalnej znaleźli się również ekspresjoniści z Europy Środkowej i Wschodniej, którzy wywodzili się z głównego nurtu środkowoeuropejskiego malarstwa. Kiedy zmarł mój ojciec, między plikiem gazet natknąłem się na list od wdowy po polskim artyście, Henryku Gotlibie, która błagała mojego ojca, aby pomógł zorganizować wystawę, temu wówczas zaniedbanemu twórcy. Nota w Wikipedii o Gotlibie jest zwięzła: “Jako artysta figuratywny, był prawie zapomniany w dobie rozkwitu ekspresjonizmu abstrakcyjnego w latach pięćdziesiątych, a jego ostatnie lata przyćmione były depresją, co przemawia z jego ponurych obrazów w tym czasie”. Kiedy mój ojciec przyjechał do Wielkiej Brytanii w 1940 roku, zaczął rysować i malować, przesycając swoje prace wątkami żydowskimi. I gdyby kontynuował ten temat, kto mógłby zainteresować się kupnem obrazów o tematyce, która nie istniała w obiegu, czterdzieści lat przed

ponownym odgrzebaniem tematu Holocaustu i kultury żydowskiej, zanim klezmerski jidysz stał się modny? W powojennej Wielkiej Brytanii to wydawało się odległym światem. W swojej książce Art in Exile: Polish Painters in Post-War Britain (Sztuka na wygnaniu: Polscy malarze w powojennej Wielkiej Brytanii) (2008), Douglas Hall napisał: “Polska wydawała się krajem odległym i głęboko nieznanym [...] Niewiele było wiadomo o polskiej historii i kulturze.” Polska żydowska była jeszcze bardziej poza zasięgiem tego poznania. Wszyscy ci artyści i pisarze byli nie tylko uchodźcami, zajmującymi się przesiedleniami i wygnaniem, odcięci od ojczystej mowy, powiązań i znajomych ulic. Niemiecki artysta, taki jak Ludwig Meidner lub pisarz taki jak Bertolt Brecht, mógł powrócić do Niemiec po wojnie. Ale polski artysta lub pisarz? Po co miałby tam wracać? Ich rzeczywistość została bezpowrotnie zniszczona. A po komunistycznym przejęciu władzy przez następne czterdzieści lat powrót do Europy Wschodniej oznaczał doświadczenie sowieckiego reżimu. W 1949 roku Henryk Gotlib przyjął zaproszenie do objęcia profesury na Akademii Sztuk Pięknych w Krakowie. Po roku wrócił zupełnie rozczarowany. Tragicznym doświadczeniem była osobista strata. Rodzina mojego ojca została zamordowana. Adler stracił rodziców i rodzeństwo. Wielu artystów na tej wystawie w Ben Uri przeżyło nazistowskie obozy lub gułagi. Polsko-żydowska artystka i filmowiec, Mira Hamermesh, dorastała w Łodzi. Ona i jej rodzeństwo uratowali się, lecz rodzice zginęli w czasie wojny. W swoim pamiętniku The River of Angry Dogs (Rzeka wściekłych psów) (2004) wspominała wyjście do kina Academy Cinema przy Oxford Street w 1959 roku. Poszła tam, aby obejrzeć Pokolenie, film polskiego reżysera Andrzeja Wajdy. “Przez cały film” - pisała - “musiałam zatykać usta pięścią, aby powstrzymać szloch, który próbował wydostać się w przypływie nagłego poczucia straty. Musiałam stłumić chęć wycia niczym ranne zwierzę.’ Potem opuszcza kino i błąka się, zagubiona w deszczowych ulicach miasta:” Film, Pokolenie, jątrzył otwarte rany … Eksplodował mój system obronny, prowizoryczna apteczka na przetrwanie, urządzona by uwolnić mnie od odpowiedzialności wobec zmarłych.’ Hamermesh później trafiła do Polskiej Szkoły Filmowej. Jej film dyplomowy był zaskakująco opowiadał historię sowieckich jeńców na froncie wschodnim. Trudno uwierzyć, że w latach 50. pozwolono na zrealizowanie filmu o takiej tematyce, tu w Wielkiej Brytanii. Nie było roli dla Jacka Hawkinsa i Kennetha More’a, film powstał bez heroizmu i bezczelnych facetów. Mogło to być wykonane tylko przez wschodnioeuropejskiego reżysera filmowego. Milczenie o Holokauście


w powojennej Wielkiej Brytanii musiało być głęboko uciążliwe dla żydowsko-polskich uchodźców. Utrzymywane zresztą aż do późnych lat 70. i początku 80. XX wieku. To nie przypadek, że mój ojciec “odkrył” swoje dawno zaginione rysunki przedstawiające sceny z życia w Polsce właśnie w tamtym czasie. Nie tylko ci polsko-żydowscy uchodźcy stanowili mniejszość etniczną w powojennej Wielkiej Brytanii, funkcjonowali pośród dwóch innych grup społecznościowych. Polacy pochodzenia żydowskiego byli częścią polskiej społeczności, ale wychowywali się mówiąc w jidysz, posługiwali się innym językiem, nie wspominając o różnicach wyznaniowych. Uchodźcy z Polski i Europy Wschodniej byli także mniejszością wśród uchodźców europejskich. Byli to wschodnioeuropejscy żydzi, Ostjuden w języku Jidysz, oddzieleni klasowo i geograficznie. Tu należy zwrócić uwagę na wspomnienia Stefana Zweiga dotyczące żydowskiej Galicji podczas I wojny światowej. Dla kogoś wychowanego w wykwintnie burżuazyjnym Wiedniu jest to inny świat. Jeszcze trudniejszym okazała się sytuacja, w której niewielu z tych uchodźców odnalazło bazę instytucjonalną. Wielkie sukcesy odnosiły grupy powojennych uchodźców związanych z uczelnią Warburga, Oxfordem i Cambridge, Instytutem Psychoanalizy lub BBC. Dzięki temu można było budować dalsze profesjonalne kontakty i zyskać uznanie w innych instytucjach, znaleźć tak samo myślących kolegów z podobnymi doświadczeniami. Żaden z polsko-żydowskich uchodźców, o których wspomniałem, nie znalazł ostoi w tego typu instytucjach. Byli bardzo samotni, bez kontaktów, które sami musieli pozyskać. Pomyśleć, jak trudno było pisarzowi i biografowi Isaacowi Deutscherowi objąć posadę na uniwersytecie w Wielkiej Brytanii. Jaka istniejąca w owym czasie instytucja mogłaby przyjąć poetów jidysz lub artystów takich jak Gotlib i Adler, którzy kiedy przybywali do Wielkiej Brytanii właśnie skończyli czterdzieści lat? Młodsi uciekinierzy radzili sobie znacznie lepiej. W krótkim czasie opanowywali język i znacznie szybciej odnajdywali się w nowych okolicznościach. Mój ojciec był o ponad dwadzieścia lat młodszy od Gotliba i piętnaście od Stencla. Hamermesh była na tyle młoda (ur. W 1923 roku), że mogła rozpocząć karierę w świecie brytyjskiej telewizji. To nie przypadek, że wielu z najbardziej znanych Polaków, którzy przybyli do Wielkiej Brytanii, byli zaledwie po trzydziestce, gdy wybuchła wojna: Jacob Bronowski, Joseph Rotblat i Topolski (wszystkie ur. 1908), Josef Herman i Natalia Karp (ur. 1911), psychoanalityk, Hanna Segal (ur. 1918).


Dużym atutem była wolność od obowiązków, cecha ludzi młodych. Jak możesz wyżywić dzieci czy wspierać żonę lub rodziców, jeśli jesteś stale walczącym o byt artystą? W ostatniej książce David Caute opisuje rywalizację Isaaca Deutschera z Isaiah Berlinem. Opisuje jak Berlin zablokował wniosek Deutschera na stanowisko profesora na Uniwersytecie w Sussex. Nie wspomina jedynie, że dla niezależnego pisarza ta praca była ważna, ponieważ wychowywał i utrzymywał niesamodzielnego syna. Warto porównać sytuację uchodźców, ocalałych z Holokaustu, takich jak Shmuel Dresner i Alicia Melamed Adams (ostatnia żyjąca uczennica Brunona Schulza) oraz dużo wcześniejszego pokolenia - emigrantów takich jak: Leopold Pilichowski, Alfred Wolmark, Mosze Oved i Mark Wayner, George Him i Ralph Sallon. To artyści również biorący udział w tej wystawie. Wielu z nich wyemigrowało w młodym wieku, gdy byli dorastającymi dziećmi lub nastolatkami. Byli częścią większej fali żydowskich emigrantów, którzy zaczęli znajdować uznanie na przełomie wieku. Przybyli w czasie pokoju, nie w trakcie konfliktu czy po traumatycznej wojnie. Przede wszystkim, mimo ich niewątpliwych trudności w nowym świecie, nie mieli obciążeń w postaci utraty swoich rodzin, świata, w którym dorastali, zniszczonego przez nazistów. Świetnym przykładem wydaje się porównanie obrazu mojego ojca, Refugees (Uchodźcy), Two Sisters (Dwie sieroty) Adlera czy dzieło Dresnera i Haltera z domowymi wnętrzami Wolmar lub kreskówkami Sallona. Pochodzą z zupełnie innego świata. Wielka Brytania zapewniała bezpieczeństwo oraz tolerancję późniejszym uchodźcom. Sprzyjały okoliczności dla młodych talentów, ich dostrzeżenia i uznania, szczególnie w okresie kwitnących lat pięćdziesiątych i sześćdziesiątych, kiedy kupujący sztukę kolekcjonerzy mieli pieniądze do wydania, a dealerzy na Cork Street mogli sobie pozwolić na podejmowanie ryzyka w przypadku mało znanych artystów. Niektórzy, jak mój ojciec i Mira Hamermesh, mogli się zasymilować za cenę porzucenia żydowskich tematów w swojej twórczości. Inni, którzy nie mogli lub nie chcieli tego zmienić, jak polscy poeci w Jidysz czy artyści ekspresjonistyczni, byli prawdziwymi outsiderami, a ich historie dopiero zaczynają być opowiadane.

Z „nieludzkiej ziemi” do bezpieczeństwa: artyści II Korpusu Polskiego (Armia Andersa)

Polscy artyści zaznaczyli swoją obecność na brytyjskiej scenie artystycznej na długo przed wybuchem drugiej wojny światowej. W 1897 roku do Londynu przybyła Stanisława de Karłowska (1876-1952). Malarka ta, wykształcona w krakowskiej Akademii Sztuk Pięknych i w paryskiej Academie Julien, w 1914 roku została członkiem nowo utworzonej i postępowej The London Group1 . Feliks Topolski RA (19071989) przybył do Londynu z Warszawy dwie dekady później. Od 1935 roku zatrudniony przez Wiadomości Literackie, pracował nad relacją Srebrnego Jubileuszu króla Jerzego V2. Topolski przedłużał swój pobyt i w końcu został powołany na stanowisko królewskiego korespondenta wojennego, relacjonującego wydarzenia ze wszystkich frontów II wojny światowej, od bitwy o Anglię, po operacje w Egipcie i Syrii. Marek Żuławski (1908-1985), znany ze swoich postimpresjonistycznych martwych natur, przybył do Wielkiej Brytanii w 1937 roku, a Henryk Gotlib (1896-1966), czołowy przedstawiciel formistów, przeniósł się z Francji do Kornwalii w lecie 1939 roku. Po upadku rządu we Francji, w 1940 roku, grupa polskich artystów przemierzyła Kanał La Manche, podążając za polskim rządem na obczyźnie. Halina Korn (née Korngold) (1902-1978), malarka i pisarka, która została żoną Marka Żuławskiego, czy też reżyserowie, Franciszka (1907-1988) i Stefan (1910-1988) Themerson znaleźli się w tej grupie. 4 Pomimo faktu, że liczni polscy artyści przybyli i osiedlili się w Wielkiej Brytanii przed lub też we wczesnej fazie wojny, artyści ci nie stworzyli skonsolidowanej artystycznej społeczności. Ta sytuacja zaczęła ulegać zmianie po 1946 roku, kiedy to ten luźny zlepek indywidualności został zasilony przez grupę żołnierzy-artystów II Korpusu Polskiego, który w końcu bezpiecznie osiągnął brzegi Wielkiej Brytanii, po długiej wędrówce z sowieckiej „nieludzkiej ziemi”. Żołnierze-artyści II Korpusu, którzy podążali za swoim dowódcą – generałem Władysławem Andersem, wsparli polską społeczność na Wyspach swoimi nadzwyczaj produktywnymi umysłami i niezrównanym potencjałem organizacyjnym, ukształtowanym przez trudy długiego szlaku bojowego.


Marjorie Lilly, Sickert: The Painter and his Circle, New Jersey, 1973, 101.


J an Wiktor Sienkiewicz, Sztuka w Poczekalni: Studia z dziejów plastyki polskiej na emigracji 1939-1989, Toruń, 2012, 164.


Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz, Sztuka w Poczekalni, 164.


Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz, Sztuka w Poczekalni, 164.


Norman Davies, Szlak Nadziei: Armia Andersa. Marsz przez kontynenty, Warsaw, 2016, 17.

Ewakuowani z „nieludzkiej ziemi” Początki historii II Korpusu Polskiego, znanego również pod nazwą „Armii Andersa”, sięgają okresu pierwszych dwóch lat II wojny światowej, kiedy to ofiary sowieckich deportacji z terenów Polski trafiały do obozów pracy na Syberii.5 Wśród nich znalazł się Józef Czapski, polski artysta, pisarz i krytyk, który został schwytany już na początku wojny.6 Zanim udało mu się uciec, był on przez prawie dwa lata więziony w obozach w Starobielsku, Pawliszczewie Borze i Griazowcu. Czapski należał do wąskiej grupy oficerów więzionych w Katyniu, którzy uniknęli masakry, kiedy to NKWD (1934-1946) zamordowała 22.000 oficerów Wojska Polskiego i przedstawicieli polskiej inteligencji. 2 września 1941 roku Czapski wstąpił do nowo powstałej Armii Andersa i otrzymał zadanie zbadania losów polskich oficerów, którzy zostali uwięzieni i zamordowani przez NKWD w lasach Katynia. W 1949 roku Czapski zawarł zapisy z tych poszukiwań w książce zatytułowanej „Na nieludzkiej ziemi”, która stała się również zapisem historii tysięcy Polaków zwolnionych z gułagów po zawarciu porozumienia Sikorski-Majski 30 lipca i 14 sierpnia 1941 roku.7 Porozumienie Sikorski-Majski umożliwiło polskiemu kierownictwu wojskowemu utworzenie zalążka Polskiej Armii w Związku Radzieckim. 11 sierpnia 1941 roku Władysław Sikorski powierzył to zadanie (nie bez pewnej dozy zastrzeżeń) generałowi Andersowi.8 Anders, który dopiero co opuścił mury więzienia na moskiewskiej Łubiance, doszedł do wniosku, że Polska Armia w ZSRR wkrótce będzie musiała zmierzyć się z widmem likwidacji. Stalin zamierzał ograniczyć liczebność polskich dywizji z siedmiu do trzech, z dodatkowym regimentem rezerwy, podczas gdy pozostali żołnierze mieliby z powrotem trafić do kołchozów, kopalń i obozów pracy.9 Czapski tak w swojej książce opisał poczucie ciągłego zagrożenia likwidacją, towarzyszące formowaniu się Polskiej Armii w ZSRR:


J oanna Pollakówna, ‘Józef Czapski: życie heroicznie dopełnione’, Zwoje, vol. 36, no. 3, (2003), 11.


Norman Davies, Szlak Nadziei, Warsaw, 2016, 55.


Juliusz L. Englert, General Anders, Warszawa, 1989, 10.


Norman Davies, Szlak Nadziei, Warsaw, 2016, 91.


„Wiadomość o częściowej ewakuacji z Rosji wywołała takie wrażenie w masach polskich, które dowiedziały się o tym nie wiadomo jak na całym obszarze Rosji, że dziś, nawet my, którzy to przeżywaliśmy, nie jesteśmy już w stanie uzmysłowić sobie siły tego wrażenia. Lawina Polaków, która toczyła się z północy na południe z łagrów i najdalszych kołchozów, jeszcze się wzmogła. Na głodnych terenach turkiestańskich, gdzie przed wojną w setkach kołchozów sadzono tylko bawełnę, żyjąc wyłącznie z dostarczanego z Rosji centralnej zboża, każda dywizja, każdy nasz oddział obrastał w rzesze cywilów, kobiet, starców, szkieletowych dzieci. Ostatkiem sił docierali oni do polskiego żołnierza w nadziei, że może z nim razem wydostaną się z Rosji Sowieckiej”.10 Po anglo-sowieckiej inwazji Iranu na przełomie sierpnia i września 1941 roku, 18 marca 1942 roku Stalin zgodził się na ewakuację pierwszej grupy polskich sił poprzez Morze Kaspijskie do irańskiego portu Pahlavi.11 Druga grupa żołnierzy i cywilów została przerzucona pod koniec sierpnia z Ashgabat w Turkmenistanie do Mashhad w Iranie. Tysiące byłych polskich więźniów gułagów, w tym kobiet i dzieci, musiało na pieszo przemierzyć drogę od południowych granic ZSRR do Iranu. Wielu nie przetrwało trudów podróży i zmarło z zimna, głodu lub wycieńczenia. Wśród ewakuowanych znalazło się wielu żołnierzy żydowskiego pochodzenia, a także grupy żydowskich dzieci – sierot wojennych – które szukały u tychże żołnierzy ochrony 12. Po przybyciu do Teheranu dzieci zostały przekazane emisariuszom, którzy przetransportowali je do Palestyny. Wielu żołnierzy żydowskiego pochodzenia również zdecydowało się skorzystać z możliwości pozostania w Palestynie. Około 79.000 żołnierzy i 37.000 cywilów zostało ewakuowanych z Rosji Sowieckiej. Armia generała Andersa została przekazana pod kuratelę brytyjskiego rządu i stała się częścią brytyjskiego dowództwa na Bliskim Wschodzie13 . To był tylko mały etap na długiej drodze do wolności II Korpusu. Armia Andersa następnie wzięła udział w kampanii włoskiej, w tym w zwycięskim oblężeniu klasztoru benedyktyńskiego na Monte Cassino, które doprowadziło do przerwania Linii Gustawa i otworzyło aliantom drogę do Rzymu. Ta bitwa stała się symbolem trudów II Korpusu, a bohaterstwo jego żołnierzy zostało uwiecznione przez Feliksa Konarskiego w pieśni żołnierskiej „Czerwone Maki na Monte Cassino”. Utwór ten zdobył popularność dzięki wystąpieniom Adama Astona – polskiego żołnierza żydowskiego pochodzenia, który służył w Armii Andersa. Po zwycięstwie pod Monte Cassino II Korpus kontynuował marsz przez Włochy. W maju 1944 roku stoczył bitwę pod Anconą, podczas operacji Olive Gothic Line, a w marcu 1945 roku wziął udział w bitwie

pod Bolonią, podczas finalnej ofensywy we Włoszech. Po zakończeniu wojny dywizje Korpusu stacjonowały we Włoszech aż do 1946 roku. Następnie zostały przetransportowane do Wielkiej Brytanii i przeszły demobilizację. To właśnie na Wyspach większość spośród 105.000 żołnierzy pozostało na uchodźstwie i znalazło nowy dom.14

Sztuka w plecaku żołnierza Długa podróż II Korpusu dała Andersowi liczne powody do zastanowienia się nad przyszłością swoich żołnierzy, w szczególności ich edukacją.15 Już w 1942 roku Anders powziął decyzję o ustanowieniu Centrum Kultury i Edukacji, które było odpowiedzialne za przygotowanie jego ludzi do powrotu do codziennego życia po zakończeniu wojny. Jednym z zadań Centrum Kultury i Edukacji była pomoc artystom, takim jak Tadeusz Wąs, Zygmunt Turkiewicz i Tadeusz Muszyński-Znicz ,w organizacji wystaw ich prac. Jesienią 1945 roku trzydziestu sześciu polskich żołnierzy i oficerówartystów zostało przyjętych na studia w rzymskiej Accademia di Belle Arti.16 Wśród przyjętych znalazło się wielu artystów, którzy później tworzyli w Wielkiej Brytanii, należeli do nich: Ryszard Demel, Leon Piesowocki i Alexander Werner. Inni artyści uczęszczali do Szkoły Malarstwa w Cecchignola niedaleko Rzymu, która została zorganizowana przez Mariana Bohusza-Szyszko (1901-1995), malarza i edukatora, wykształconego w Wilnie i Krakowie. W listopadzie 1946 roku te dwie grupy artystów dotarły z Włoch do Szkocji. W pierwszych miesiącach 1947 roku polscy studenci zostali przeniesieni do Polskiego Obozu Przesiedleńczego w Waldingfield pod Sudbury w hrabstwie Suffolk, gdzie w lipcu 1947 roku Bohusz-Szyszko, przy udziale byłego rektora Warszawskiej Akademii Sztuk Pięknych, projektanta grafiki – Wojciecha Jastrzębowskiego, a także architekta Romualda Nowickiego odtworzył swoją szkołę malarstwa pod nową nazwą Studium Malarstwa i Grafiki Użytkowej.17 Wśród pierwszych dwudziestu trzech studentów tej szkoły znaleźli się artyści, którzy przybyli do Wielkiej Brytanii razem z Bohuszem-Szyszko. Byli to między innymi: Ryszard Demel (ur. 1921), Tadeusz Beutlich (1922-2011), Kazimierz Dźwig (1923-1994), Jan Marian Kościałkowski (1914-1977) i Tadeusz Muszyński-Znicz. Pod koniec roku szkoła przeniosła się do Kingwood Common, pod Reading, a następnie do Londynu. Wielu polskich studentów otrzymało wsparcie w postaci stypendiów, które ułatwiły im studia na brytyjskich uczelniach.18 Dzięki specjalnej pomocy finansowej płynącej z Brytyjskiego Tymczasowego Komitetu Skarbowego do Spraw Przesiedlenia Polaków, niektórym z żołnierzyartystów udało się dostać na uczelnie artystyczne w Londynie.


Józef Czapski, Na nieludzkiej ziemi, Paryż, 1984, 187.


Norman Davies, Szlak Nadziei, Warsaw, 2016, 98-99.


alik Kochanski, The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War, H Cambridge, MA, 2012, 197-198.


Czesław Brzoza, Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia Polski 1918–1945, Kraków 2009, 531.


Sienkiewicz, ‘Polish Presence…’, 191.


Jakub Żak: Nie walczyli dla siebie. Powojenna odyseja 2 Korpusu Polskiego, Warszawa, 2014, 70.


Sienkiewicz, Sztuka w Poczekalni, 163-164.


Sienkiewicz, ‘Polish Presence…’, 189-190.



J an Wiktor Sienkiewicz, ‘Polish Presence at Artistic Academies and in the Art of Great Britain after Second World War. Introduction to Research’, in Malgorzata Geron, Jerzy Malinowski, Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz, Art of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 20th-21st Centuries and Polish-British and Irish Art Relations, Toruń, 2015, 191.

Stosunkowo liczna grupa studiowała w Sir John Cass Technical College, the School of Art and Crafts in the City of London (w tym Stanisław Frenkiel i Danuta Głuchowska). Inni rozpoczęli edukację w Borough Polytechnic (Janina Baranowska, Danuta Gierc i Danuta Piesakowska) w the Slade School of Art (Andrzej Bobrowski, Stefan Knapp, Jan Lubelski i Jan Wieliczko) lub w the Central School of Art (Wanda Garland). Dla wielu emigrantów życie w nowej rzeczywistości nie było łatwe, nie tylko z powodu trudów dnia codziennego, ale także z powodu utraty statusu społecznego19. Brytyjczycy, a także polskie kierownictwo polityczne, nie byli zainteresowani uznaniem wojennych zasług II Korpusu i jego artystów. Wielu spośród nich miało kłopoty finansowe spowodowane trudnościami ze znalezieniem pracy. Ciągłe zabieganie o uznanie i akceptację znalazło odzwierciedlenie w licznych inicjatywach społecznych podejmowanych przez artystów II Korpusu. 20 W 1948 roku na krótko powstał Związek Młodych Plastyków. Były pilot, Stefan Knapp został jego dyrektorem, podczas gdy członkowie rekrutowali się głównie z żołnierzy-artystów, którzy studiowali w Rzymie, a także w szkole malarstwa Bohusza-Szyszko. Wiosną 1949 roku 14 czołowych artystów zainteresowanych bardziej postępowym ujęciem sztuki stworzyło Grupę 4921 . Wsród jej czonków znaleźli się: Tadeusz Beutlich, Ryszard Demel, Kazimierz Dźwig, Stanisław Frenkiel, Marian Kościałkowski, Leon Piesowocki, Aleksander Werner i inni. Podczas swojej dziesięcioletniej działalności kolektyw zorganizował wystawy dwudziestu artystów w różnych miejscach, od Polskiego Klubu YMCA, po nowo powstałą Grabowski Gallery w South Kensington. Grupa 49 została następnie wchłonięta przez Zrzeszenie Polskich Artystów Plastyków w Wielkiej Brytanii, którego pierwsza wystawa odbyła się od 5 lutego do 3 marca 1959 roku w Grabowski Gallery. 22 Od tego momentu nastąpił dynamiczny rozwój polskiego środowiska artytycznego w Londynie.

Dom, lecz nie ojczyzna Udział żołnierzy-artystów II Korpusu w ożywieniu polskich kręgów artystycznych w powojennej Brytanii był kluczowy. Artyści ci szybko skonsolidowali swoje starania i stworzyli dobrze rozwiniętą siatkę kontaktów, która powołała do życia kilka znanych instytucji, takich jak Grabowski Gallery czy też Drian Gallery. Artyści Andersa byli z pewnością bardzo barwną grupą indywidualności, których talenty realizowały się nie tylko w obrębie sztuk wizualnych – wielu spośród nich występowało na scenie, czy też pisało do gazet. Twórczość artystów plastyków została ukształtowana przez dwie ważne dla polskiej sztuki emigracyjnej konwencje. Artyści ci czerpali z tradycji kolorystów (była to grupa Polskich malarzy zafascynowanych malarskością koloru,


Sienkiewicz, Sztuka w Poczekalni, 350.


Sienkiewicz, Sztuka w Poczekalni, 96.


Sienkiewicz, Sztuka w Poczekalni, 164-163.


Sienkiewicz, Sztuka w Poczekalni, 304.


Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz, Artyści Andersa: Continuità e novità, Toruń, 2016, 23.

którzy opowiadali się za rozwojem umiejętności technicznych), podczas gdy doświadczenia wojenne znacząco wpłynęły na częstotliwość występowania motywów egzystencjonalnych. 23 To połączenie konwencji jest szczególnie widoczne w przerysowanych postaciach malowanych przez Frenkla. Wpływ londyńskiego środowiska jest najbardziej zauważalny we wczesnych pracach Janiny Baranowskiej, uczennicy Davida Bomberga z Borough Road, która postrzegała malarstwo jako proces terapeutyczny. Eksperymenty z nowoczesnym i postępowym ujęciem konwencji malarskich można odnaleźć w pół-abstrakcyjnych kompozycjach Tadeusza Muszyńskiego-Znicza. Podczas gdy część z artystów opowiadała się za znacznie bardziej awangardowymi środkami wyrazu, Adam Kossowski i Marian Bohusz-Szyszko koncentrowali się na rozwijaniu motywów religijnych; ostatni z nich zasłynął użyciem grubego impastu nasyconego kolorem, poprzez który swobodnie nawiązywał do tradycji kolorystów. Pomimo różnych odniesień do konwencji, polscy artyści na Wyspach nie wykształcili wspólnego języka stylistycznego, który mógłby spajać ich wysiłki. Natomiast elementem, który łączył artystów Andersa były bez wątpienia ich podobne życiowe losy. Pomimo faktu, że większość znalazła swoją bezpieczną przystań w Wielkiej Brytanii, poczucie tęsknoty i ciągły niepokój były stale obecne w ich powojennym życiu. Adam Kossowski w drodze do swojego nowego domu w Wielkiej Brytanii napisał: „Pomimo tego wszystkiego, co mnie spotkało, czułem się szczególnie szczęśliwy w sytuacji, w której się w tamtym momencie znajdowałem – płynąłem do Anglii, gdzie moja żona i moi przyjaciele na mnie czekali i gdzie, miałem nadzieję sprawdzić czy po trzech latach różnych przygód i prawie całkowitego zaprzestania tworzenia mógłbym na nowo zacząć malować. Podczas podróży […] mój angielski przyjaciel Freddie zapewniał mnie, że bezpiecznie dotrzemy do Anglii. I tak też się stało. Pozostaje pytanie, czy znajdę jeszcze kiedyś przyjaciela, który z podobną dozą pewności będzie mnie mógł zapewnić odnośnie ostatniego etapu naszej długiej podróży – z Wielkiej Brytanii do Polski?”24 Dzisiaj Galeria i Muzeum Ben Uri poprzez wystawę „Art Out of the Bloodlands” stała się tymczasowym domem dla prac licznych spośród żołnierzy-artystów, domem, który gości artystów Andersa, ale także wpisuje historię prac uchodźców w swoją własną. Galeria Ben Uri, podobnie jak artyści II Korpusu, przez lata była wędrującym „uchodźcą”, który był zmuszany zmieniać swoją siedzibę w poszukiwaniu domu. Historie żołnierzy-artystów i historia tejże galerii dają nam powód do zastanowienia się nad ciągłą tęsknotą tych, którzy żyją na uchodźstwie i przypominają, że dla wielu słowo „dom” nie zawsze oznacza ojczyznę.


Adam Kossowski, ‘A Polish Soldier’s Journey’, in Adam Kossowski, Murals and Paintings, Benedict Read, London, 1990, 95, (tłum. autora).


S hulamith Behr, ‘Exhibitions and Beyond: Ben Uri, Politics and Émigré Identities in the Critical Years 1944-1949’ in Rachel Dickson, Sarah MacDougall eds. Ben Uri: 100 Years in London: Art, Identity, Migration, London, 2015, 90-91.


Polscy artyści i The London Group

Ben Uri oraz The London Group blisko ze sobą współpracują, czego dowodem jest udana wystawa Uproar! w 2013 roku. Z okazji stulecia grupy zorganizowano ten ważny pokaz, który obejmował prace artystów zrzeszonych z okresu pierwszych pięćdziesięciu lat jej istnienia, od 1913 do 1963 roku. Towarzystwo Ben Uri od momentu założenia, w 1915 roku wspierało artystów, którzy wyemigrowali z “polskiej ziemi”. The London Group sprawowała opiekę nad niewielką grupą malarzy znajdujących się w podobnym położeniu. The London Group jest spółdzielnią artystów i wystawia twórców w niej zrzeszonych. Grupa powstała jako kontynuacja Camden Town Group, włączając Fitzroy Street Group i wielu niezależnych artystów, w tym Davida Bomberga i Jacoba Epsteina, jak również ważnych członków z wczesnych lat działalności Ben Uri. Grupa Camden Town nie przyjmowała kobiet-artystek. The London Group aktywnie zachęcała do udziału w wystawach kobiety. W tym czasie dobrą pozycją cieszyło się siedem uznanych jako członkinie - założycielki kobiet: Jessie Etchells, Reneé Finch, Sylvia Gosse, AH ‘Nan’ Hudson, Thérèse Lessore, Ethel Sands i - urodzona jako Stanisława de Karłowska (1876-1972). Stanisława była żoną pierwszego Skarbnika The London Group, Roberta Bevana. Poznali się na weselu w Jersey. Para spędziła wczesne lata swojego małżeństwa w Polsce. Jeden z obecnych członków The London Group, Tim Craven, opowiada, że komunikacja między Robertem, a jego polskim teściem była utrudniona ze względu na język; musieli używać łaciny. W Londynie para mieszkała w Swiss Cottage, dzielnicy w północnym Londynie, której uliczne życie podsuwało Stanisławie liczne tematy prac. Właściwie jej obraz, zaprezentowany podczas wystawy Uproar! przedstawiał jedną z ulicznych scen. Praca pod tytułem Swiss Cottage, namalowana została w 1914 roku i niedługo po tym wypożyczona na wystawę w Tate. Stanisława okazała się oddanym członkiem grupy. W sumie wystawiła sto czterdzieści cztery prace na wystawach zbiorowych, odbywających się corocznie od 1914 r. aż do wybuchu II wojny światowej. Stanowi to rekord trudny do pobicia. Na tych wystawach dzieliła przestrzeń wystawienniczą z innymi wybitnymi członkiniami grupy kobiecej, w tym z Vanessą Bell, Jessicą Dismorr, Niną Hamnett, Edną Manley i Eileen Agar. Druga Wojna Światowa sprzęgnęła się w czasie z wyborem na członka grupy Henryka Gotliba (1890-1966), przedstawiciela drugiej fali emigrantów, którzy uciekli przed nazistowskimi prześladowaniami i nie byli w stanie wrócić do Polski w wyniku niemieckiej i rosyjskiej okupacji. Członkami honorowymi grupy byli Augustus John oraz czeski


emigrant, Oscar Kokoschka. W tym samym czasie przyjęto również niemieckiego emigranta, Freda Uhlmana, demonstrując dostosowanie się grupy do okoliczności w czasach konfliktu. Podczas wystawy Fifth War-time Exhibition, która odbyła się w Royal Academy w 1943 r., Gotlib wystawił pracę Mickiewicz Returns to Cracow (Mickiewicz powraca do Krakowa). Powstanie obrazu zbiegło się w czasie z zawiązywaniem się polskiego rządu na emigracji, a koncepcja samej pracy skupiała się wokół utwierdzania polskiej tożsamości narodowej na uchodźstwie w Wielkiej Brytanii. Autor pracy zażądał za nią astronomicznej kwoty w wysokości 1050 funtów (Gotlib, Bomberg i Uhlman zawsze żądali wielkich pieniędzy za swoje prace podczas wojny). Obraz był lewym skrzydłem tryptyku, gabarytowo dużego dzieła, przedstawiającego wojnę w Polsce. Praca stanowiła “pożegnalny hołd” dla narodu polskiego. Do tego momentu dzieło nie zostało wystawione w pełnej formie w Wielkiej Brytanii. Prawe skrzydło, Stabat Mater, zostało pokazane pod auspicjami grupy w 1944 roku, a cały tryptyk w 1948 roku został przekazany Muzeum Narodowemu w Warszawie. Od tej pory nie był wystawiany przez długi czas. W tym samym roku Gotlib zasiadał w Komitecie Roboczym grupy, wraz z innymi jej członkami: Bombergiem, Duncanem Grantem, Victorem Pasmorem i Claude Rogersem, stanowiąc rezerwę w Hanging Committee – Zgromadzenie wybierało prace w trybie konkursowym na potrzeby prestiżowej, rocznej wystawy grupy. Prawdopodobnie najważniejszy moment działalności Gotliba w grupie stanowił rok 1964, kiedy to jego praca zatytułowana The Lake została włączona do wystawy London Group Jubilee Exhibition, 1914-64, Fifty Years of British Art w Tate. Praca powstała w 1958 roku a on sam, na potrzeby wystawy uznany został za ‘brytyjskiego’ twórcę. Gotlib również wystawiał z grupą Art Federation Galleries Suffolk Street, w 1965 roku, żądając jednej z najwyższych kwot na wystawie za swój olejny obraz Girls Among Olive Trees (Dziewczeta pośród drzew oliwnych). W 1967 r. Wstęp do katalogu The London Group ‘67 w Royal Institute Galleries na Piccadilly zawiera pisemny hołd dla Gotliba, a także dla Bernarda Adeneya, członka założycielskiego, który niedawno zmarł. Oba teksty prawdopodobnie napisał prezes grupy, Andrew Forge. Tadeusz Peter (Piotr) Potworowski (1898-1962) został przyjęty do grupy w 1949 roku, w czasie kiedy rozpoczął nauczanie w renomowanej Bath Academy of Art w Corsham, i pozostał jej członkiem aż do momentu kiedy powrócił do Polski w 1958 roku w momencie tzw. ‘odwilży’ w stosunkach z Zachodem. Wystawiał z grupą każdego roku. Po raz pierwszy pokazał swoje prace jako członek grupy The London Group na wystawie w RBA Galleries w 1947 roku. Zaprezentował pracę Red Strips, wycenioną na wartość 100 funtów, oraz Three Girls and a Swan

o wartości 60 funtów. Wśród innych artystów znaleźli się emigranci i żydowscy artyści związani z Ben Uri: Stanisława Karłowska, David Bomberg, Manfred Uhlman, Mark Zulawski, Morris Kestelman, Ernst Eisenmayer, Bernard Meninsky, Hyam Myer, Michael Rothenstein i Henryk Gotlib. Na wystawie w roku 1954 w New Burlington Galleries wystawił Newlyn Harbour, który, jeśli obrazy zostały pokazane w kolejności katalogowej, został zaprezentowany obok młodego Patricka Herona. Obaj artyści związani byli z Kornwalią. Ci sami twórcy wybrani zostali na wystawę objazdową i zaprezentowani w Southampton Art Gallery na początku 1955 roku. W tym samym roku Potworowski wystawiał w The Octagon w Bath razem z Paulem Feilerem, Peterem Lanyonem i Bryanem Wynterem (absolwent prestiżowej szkoły malarstwa. St. Ives). Heron, Wynter i Terry Frost dołączyli do The London Group w kolejności w 1952, 1955 i 1957; być może to były kontakty grupy, które były wynikiem powiązań Petera z abstrakcją St Ivesa. Ostatnim obrazem, jaki wystawił Potworowski razem z grupą był Oval Landscape from Cornwall (Owalny krajobraz z Kornwalii) podczas corocznej wystawy w 1958 roku w RBA Galleries. W katalogu do wystawy z 1959 roku zawarto informację o jego członkostwie, choć nie wziął w niej udziału. Wtedy był już w swojej ojczyźnie. Prawie dwadzieścia lat później, w 1977 roku, Stanisław Frenkiel (19182001) przystąpił do The London Group. Miał wybitne wykształcenie w dziedzinie edukacji i sztuki oraz był członkiem różnych organizacji, związków i grup, w tym Instytutu Edukacji. W 1979 roku Stanisław zaangażował się i aktywnie działał w ramach grupy, zgłosił kandydaturę rzeźbiarza Jesse Watkinsa na stanowisko wiceprezydenta. Urząd ten ostatecznie przejął szkocki malarz John Bellany, w trybie głosowania większością trzynastu głosów. Pewna korelacja jest widoczna między dziełami Frenkiela i Bellany’ego w ich malarskim i idiosynkratycznym spojrzeniu na świat. W 1984 roku Stanisław zasiadał w Komitecie Roboczym grupy, tak samo jak jego polscy koledzy wiele lat wcześniej. Był szczególnie zaangażowany w organizację wystawy pt. London Group 84, Open Exhibition w Royal College of Art. Wystawy prezentowały zarówno prace członków jak i wybranych artystów spoza grupy, wybieranych na podstawie zgłoszenia konkursowego. Otwarcie wystawy w 1984 roku było ogromnym przedsięwzięciem, z czterdziestoma dziewięcioma artystami zrzeszonymi i stoma czterdziestoma trzema twórcami spoza grupy.

białe zdjęcie przedstawia Stanisława sfotografowanego w towarzystwie innych członków podczas kolacji obchodów 80-lecia grupy w 1993 roku, która odbyła się w galerii Saatchi. Wygląda na szczęśliwego, że tam jest. Obecny członek, Vaughan Grylls, wspomina Stanisława, którego spotkał na jednym z takich spotkań. “Jakiś urzędnik służby cywilnej VIP z rządu ciągle zwracał się do Stasia nazywając go doktorem Frenkielem. Kiedy uczynił to po raz trzeci Stach odwrócił się, wyraźnie oburzony powiedział: “Proszę przestać nazywać mnie lekarzem. Nie jestem doktorem. Jestem malarzem. Dziękuję.” Slavomir Blatton jest aktualnym członkiem grupy. Został on wybrany w 1997 roku. Slavomir jest pod wieloma względami bardzo podobny do swoich poprzedników. Wykładał techniki akwaforty w Working Man’s College. Pamięta o swoich obowiązkach jako członka The London Group, który regularnie ogłasza plan głosowania na dorocznym, walnym zgromadzeniu grupy. Wnosi wkład w dyskusje podczas rozmów artystów oraz spędza czas z kolegami przy kieliszku wina. Najważniejszy jest jego wkład w ekspozycje The London Group poprzez regularne produkcje nowych prac. Jestem prawie pewien, że kiedy kończę pisać niniejszy esej, Slavomir przygotowuje się do wzięcia udziału w wydarzeniu zatytułowanym Film Night 2 w Highgate’s Literary & Scientific Institute, pokazując wideo z dziewięcioma innymi artystami. Jest on w stu procentach nowoczesnym twórcą. The London Group zawsze przyjmowała artystów z całego świata, zwłaszcza tych uciekających przed opresją i brakiem możliwości rozwoju, umożliwiając im swobodne wyrażanie myśli i poglądów. Pod tym względem Ben Uri i The London Group popierają się wzajemnie i nadal będą kontynuować tą współpracę.

Jednym z aspektów wystaw, które się pojawiają w trakcie rozmowy z członkami grupy była doskonała zabawa, i całkowicie towarzyskie wernisaże! Grupa zawsze lubiła upamiętniać takie wydarzenia. Czarno-


Wystawa: Stulecie polskich artystów w Wielkiej Brytanii

Migracja ma kluczowe znaczenie dla polskiej historii, lecz pojęcie “polska” emigracja jest trudne do zdefiniowania. Przesuwanie granic państwowych oraz zmiana w obrębie wielu etnicznych, religijnych i językowych tożsamości na obszarze, który w różnych okresach historycznych był nazywany Polską, stworzyło wiele wariantów ‘polskości’. Niemniej jednak ci ludzie wyemigrowali za granicę z konkretnych miast, miasteczek i wiosek, które później malowali lub opisywali w powieściach, a z którymi łączą się dziś dzięki aplikacji Skype i mediom społecznościowym. Pomimo przesuwania się granic państwowych, wojen i Holokaustu, przez stulecia te szczególne miejsca stanowią wspólny punkt odniesienia dla ich byłych mieszkańców. Często bardzo trudno jest stwierdzić, czy poszczególni emigranci pochodzili z “Polski”. Zwłaszcza masowa migracja w dziesięcioleciach poprzedzających pierwszą wojnę światową miała miejsce, gdy Polska była podzielona między Rosję, Austrię i Niemcy. W 1945 r. Wschodnia część Polski została włączona do ZSRR; wielu Polaków osiadłych w Wielkiej Brytanii nie mogło wrócić “do domu”, do Polski, ponieważ ich domy znajdowały się teraz w Związku Radzieckim. Wielka Brytania dwukrotnie stała się najbardziej znaczącym krajem docelowym dla Polaków: w latach 40. i po 2004 roku. Niemniej jednak w innych okresach również była domem dla szeroko pojętych emigrantów z Polski. W XIX i na początku XX wieku były to między innymi sławne postacie, takie jak powieściopisarz Joseph Conrad i antropolog Bronisław Malinowski. Polscy Żydzi po raz pierwszy przybyli do Londynu w XVIII wieku; od lat czterdziestych XIX wieku migracja żydowska nabrała tempa, w liczbie 210 000 ludzi, którzy przybyli z Europy Wschodniej w latach 1881-1925 (w porównaniu z dziesięciokrotnym przebiciem tej liczby w Stanach Zjednoczonych). Chociaż miasta takie jak Leeds i Manchester zdobywały wschodnioeuropejską populację żydowską, Londyn - a szczególnie East End - był najpopularniejszym miejscem docelowym ich podróży: w 1913 roku dzielnicę zamieszkiwało 63 000 Żydów o rosyjskopolskim pochodzeniu. Polscy zesłańcy z czasów nieudanych XIXwiecznych powstań, tzw. Wielka Emigracja, wybierali Francję; niemniej jednak kilka tysięcy osób znalazło się w Londynie, Portsmouth i innych częściach Wielkiej Brytanii. Dołączyła do nich rosnąca liczba emigrantów zarobkowych, z których część była po prostu zbyt biedna, aby odbyć całą podróż do USA. Polska migracja była kontynuowana w okresie międzywojennym, choć niewielu Polaków przybyło wtedy do Wielkiej Brytanii. Wyjątkiem był malarz Feliks Topolski, który wyemigrował w 1935 roku.


W czasie drugiej wojny światowej i krótko po jej zakończeniu sytuacja migracji zmieniła się dramatycznie. W 1940 roku polski rząd na uchodźstwie ewakuował się z Francji do Londynu, gdzie pozostał aż do jego rozwiązania w 1991 roku. Polscy lotnicy znakomicie przyczynili się do zwycięstwa w bitwie o Anglię; od 1946 roku dołączyło do nich tysiące żołnierzy - w tym Żydzi - którzy służyli w 2 Korpusie we Włoszech. Wśród żydowskich uchodźców z Polski znajdowało się kilkaset sierot zaproszonych przez brytyjski rząd w latach 1945-1946. Rząd przyjął także osoby przesiedlone z obozów w Europie kontynentalnej, aby zlikwidować luki w sile roboczej. W rezultacie spis ludności z 1951 roku wykazał, że populacja Polski zwiększyła się o 162,000. Po odwilży w 1956 roku możliwe było odbywanie wizyt w obu kierunkach, ludzie przybywali do Wielkiej Brytanii z żonami i narzeczonymi. Mimo tego liczba mieszkańców pochodzenia polskiego stale spadała. Wielka Brytania nie była dotknięta kolejnymi falami emigracji z Polski w okresie komunizmu, takimi jak wydalenie z 1968 roku większości polskich Żydów; socjolog Zygmunt Bauman, który ostatecznie osiadł w Leeds, był godnym uwagi wyjątkiem. Jednak po upadku reżimu komunistycznego Londyn cieszył się dużą popularnością wśród wśród młodych Polaków, był ekscytującym miejscem do życia i pracy. Migracja szczególnie zintensyfikowała się na krótko przed 2004 roku, w przededniu przystąpienia Polski do Unii Europejskiej. Bezrobocie w Polsce było bardzo wysokie, a nowa generacja absolwentów szkół uczyła się angielskiego, a nie rosyjskiego w szkole. Pod koniec 2004 roku w Wielkiej Brytanii przebywało około 150 000 obywateli polskich. Do 2011 roku spis ludności odnotował około 579 000 osób urodzonych w Polsce, mieszkających w Anglii i Walii, a dane statystyczne w 2016 roku wykazały liczbę prawie miliona. Szybki wzrost można w dużej mierze wytłumaczyć efektem sieciowym: Polacy szybko zaczęli zabierać ze sobą swoje dzieci za granicę i zapraszać rodzeństwo oraz przyjaciół, aby do nich dołączyli. Pomimo pierwotnie otwartych planów, wiele osób zaczęło się osiedlać, zwłaszcza gdy zdobywały regularne posady poza sektorem emigracyjnym, a ich dzieci zaczęły szkołę. Mogłoby się wydawać, że te różne fale migracji, tak ściśle związane ze specyficznymi wydarzeniami historycznymi, mają niewiele ze sobą wspólnego. W szczególności istnieje kontrast pomiędzy migracją

obywateli Unii Europejskiej a podróżą Żydów lub działaczy “Solidarności” w jedną stronę, odcinających się od reżimu komunistycznego, porzucających polskie obywatelstwo lub jeszcze wcześniejszych bohaterów powstań anty-carskich. Polacy często odróżniają emigrantów politycznych od skromniejszej migracji w poszukiwaniu zarobku. Dla Żydów istnieje silne przekonanie, że w odróżnieniu od etnicznych polskich chłopów uciekali z carskiej Rosji jako uchodźcy. Chociaż większość z nich wyemigrowała z miejsc, w których nie było pogromów, nieuchronnie dotknęła ich ogólna atmosfera strachu, a także faktyczna dyskryminacja. W tym samym czasie Żydzi również uciekali ze względu na przeludnienie i ubóstwo, więc nie różnili się od swoich chrześcijańskich odpowiedników. Co więcej, zarówno Żydzi, jak i chrześcijanie odpowiadali podobnie na zaproszenia rodziny i znajomych mieszkających już za granicą. W rzeczywistości uderzają również podobieństwa i linie ciągłości między różnymi falami emigracji. Sieci migracji wyznaczały i nadal określają, dokąd udają się ludzie, wyjaśniając, dlaczego w przeszłości Wielka Brytania nie stanowiła popularnego celu podróży i dlaczego teraz nim jest. “Gorączka migracyjna”, która ogarnęła Polaków pod koniec XIX wieku, ma swoje odpowiedniki w kulturze przesiedlania, charakteryzującej dziś wiele polskich miejscowości. Na drugim krańcu podróży bardzo zorganizowane życie budzi podziw. Społeczeństwa przyjmujące są zawsze w ciągłym ruchu, sytuacja jaka miała miejsce w późnej wiktoriańskiej Brytanii i jaka ma miejsce dzisiaj. Stwarza to niebezpieczeństwa dla migrantów, którzy mogą być postrzegani jako zagrożenie przez miejscową ludność: stygmatyzacja określeniem wschodnioeuropejskich emigrantów, oskarżenia o kradzież brytyjskich miejsc pracy i przygnębiające zarobki równające się z sytuacją XIXwiecznych polskich Żydów na uchodźstwie brzmią dość podobnie. We wszystkich falach migracyjnych większość polskich migrantów rozpoczynała karierę za granicą na samym dole drabiny społecznej, nawet jeśli ich status społeczny był inny w kraju ojczystym. Niemniej jednak mobilność społeczna jest również ważną częścią ich historii, podobnie jak (dla wielu) wyzwalającym efektem migracji i tendencją emigrantów do refleksji nad własną tożsamością i doświadczeniami, które pomagają uczynić migrację tak wydajną dla sztuki i literatury.



ISBN 978-0-900157-66-0

9 780900 157660