New aquisitions and long-term loans

Page 1

New Acquisitons and Long-term Loans Ben Uri Gallery 15th January – 27th March Curated by Sarah MacDougall

Jankel Adler (1895 Tuszyn, Poland – 1949 Aldbourne, England) Mother and Child, 1941 Oil on canvas Ben Uri Collection On long term loan from a Private Collection Immigrated to Great Britain 1940 Born into an orthodox Jewish family, Adler was an influential member of artists’ groups, including ‘Young Yiddish’ in Poland, worked alongside Paul Klee in Dusseldorf, and with Stanley Hayter in Paris, where he also met Picasso, and was included in the notorious Nazi “Degenerate Art” exhibition. He fled to Scotland from the South of France with the Free Polish Army in 1940 and was discharged soon afterwards, working in Glasgow until 1943, then London and Wiltshire. Adler’s powerful exploration of the mother- and-child motif (possibly a reworking of an earlier lost Madonna and Child from the Scottish period) references Picasso’s monumental Spanish Civil War painting, Guernica (1937). The mother’s heavy form fills the canvas, her expression is tender – her eyes filled with tears, as she cradles her child tensely and protectively. This motif was particularly poignant during Adler’s British exile when he was separated from his partner, Betty, and daughter Nina, and unaware (until the end of the war) of the fate of his own family. Purchased by a Jewish patron in Glasgow, this work was first exhibited at the Exhibition of Jewish Art at the Jewish Institute in the Gorbals in December 1942.

Arnold Auerbach (1898 Liverpool, England - 1978 London, England) Christ on the Cross, c. 1920s Etching on Somerset paper Ben Uri Collection Presented by Drew Wilson 2018 Born in Liverpool, studying at Liverpool School of Art, Auerbach also trained in Paris and in Switzerland, exhibiting regularly at the Royal Academy, Goupil Gallery, London, and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. After the war he taught at Beckenham School of Art, Regent Street Polytechnic and Chelsea School of Art, until his retirement in 1964. Auerbach practised etching in the early 1920s, producing plates intermittently into the early 1930s. He undertook architectural sculptor commissions to decorate interiors of Art Deco buildings including the News Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue (destroyed during the Second World War). His admiration of Ancient Egyptian sculpture is reflected in the simplicity and monumentality of his forms, although stylised, the slender figure of his Christ is also reminiscent of the work of Eric Gill.

Lazar Berson (1882 Skopichky, Russia – 1954 Nice, France) Circular plate for Ben Uri, 1915 Wood Ben Uri Collection Presented by Annie Hayes 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1914 Russian-Jewish artist Lazar Berson studied painting in St Petersburg, where he was influenced by the Jewish cultural renaissance and the renewed interest in Russian and Jewish folk art and craft. Afterwards in Paris, Berson studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and mixed with other largely eastern-European Jewish émigré artists, known as the École de Paris, exhibited at the Salon d’Automne alongside Chagall (1911-12), and sharing an address at La Ruche artist’s colony in Montparnasse with sculptor Jacques Lipchitz. Berson maintained a decorative approach to traditional folk art and sought to develop a specifically Jewish type of art. Following the outbreak of the First World War, Berson moved to London, where he set up a portrait studio and wrote articles for Jewish and Yiddish newspapers. In 1915, he realised his long-held ambition of forming a society for Jewish art when he founded 'The Jewish-National Decorative Art Association (London) Ben Ouri', in Whitechapel. In 'the Ben Uri studio' in West London he brought together a number of East End artisans, who together with the jeweller Moshe Oved worked on a series of decorative 'Jewish' designs on wooden plates and bowls. This plate, signed by Berson, has been identified by David Mazower as typical of Berson’s trademark style of lettering, employing elaborate, curved shapes, with inner decoration, much like his plate dedicated to Israel Zangwill (Jewish Museum). The Hebrew lettering on this plate: ‘Ha lachma anya di achalu avatana b’ar’a d’mitzraim’, has the first line of “Ha Lakhma Anya”, the Aramaic poem in the Haggadah, translating as ‘This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate in Egypt’.

Ben Uri Studio Circular plate for Ben Uri, 1915 Wood Ben Uri Collection Presented by Annie Hayes 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1914 This plate has been identified by David Mazower as probably the work of one of the early Ben Uri studio members, possibly based on a Berson design, or from his own imagination. The letters around the rim are much simpler and cruder than Berson's own work, and the plate is not signed. The Hebrew lettering is the first line of a song by the medieval Spanish Jewish poet R’ Yehuda Halevi: ‘Tsiyon! Halo tish’ali lishlom asirayich’, translating as “Zion! Do you wonder about your captives now?’ !

Lazar Berson (1882 Skopichky, Russia – 1954 Nice, France) Ben Uri Album: Natsional yidish dekorativer kunstferayin, yidishe motivn fun fargangene tsatyn, 1916 Pen and ink on paper Ben Uri Collection Purchased 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1914 Berson also produced the Ben ouri albom, one of the earliest Yiddish art albums, printed in 1916 by the Ukrainian-born Hebraist Israel Narodiczky (1874– 1942), as a fundraiser for the newly-formed Ben Uri Arts Society. (Please see the folder for further information.) By 1916, the Society had over 100 members and had organised many events and classes, but in September of that year, Berson left without warning for America, only resurfacing late in life in Nice, where he continued to work as a painter until his death in 1954.

Lazar Berson (1882 Skopichky, Russia – 1954 Nice, France) Ben Uri Album: Natsional yidish dekorativer kunst-ferayin, yidishe motivn fun fargangene tsatyn, 1916 Pen and ink on paper Ben Uri Collection Purchased 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1914

David Bomberg (1890 Birmingham, England – 1957 London, England) Canal Bank, France, 1920 Gouache Ben Uri Collection On loan to Ben Uri Collection from Nadine Van Dyk (the artist’s granddaughter) Born to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents in Birmingham, then raised in Whitechapel, Bomberg attended the Slade School of Fine Art, where his ambition and innovation made him ‘a disturbing influence’. A founder member of the London Group, he co-curated (with sculptor Jacob Epstein) the ‘Jewish Section’ at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in May 1914, held his first solo exhibition at the Chenil Galleries, Chelsea in June, before a traumatic experience in the trenches during the First World War. Afterwards, Bomberg became fascinated by canals in both France and in England, and although this work is unpeopled he made a series based on the barges – and ‘bargees’ who lived upon them – in a series of works in which he continued to experiment with pattern and form.

David Bomberg (1890 Birmingham, England – 1957 London, England) Mount Zion and the Church of the Dormition, Jerusalem, 1923 Oil on canvas Ben Uri Collection Bequest of the late Ernest Hecht In Jerusalem, Bomberg began to engage with landscape and work en plein air for the first time, observing, ‘You must remember I was a poor boy from the East End and had never seen the sunlight before’. This landscape, one of a number of The Church of the Dormition (now Hagia Maria Sion Abbey), located just beyond the walls of the Old City, shows a loose handling in the foreground with a tighter focus on the topographical details in the background. Bomberg’s predominantly earthy palette, offset by white, creates an impression of the heat and the light and of the buildings rising up organically from the rock beneath.

David Bomberg (1890 Birmingham, England – 1957 London, England) Armenian Church Jerusalem, 1923 Mixed media on paper Ben Uri Collection On loan to Ben Uri Collection from Nadine Van Dyk (the artist’s granddaughter) In 1923, he escaped poverty and neglect in England, after accepting a post with the Palestine Foundation Fund, who paid for his voyage in return for a number of works featuring Zionist reconstruction work. Although this post was short-lived, the experience was formative: Bomberg stayed on until 1927, engaging with the landscape and work en plein air for the first time. During Easter week 1925, however, after being smuggled into the Arab Christian Armenian Church of St James in Jerusalem, he made a rare series of studies of its peopled interior, observing the Easter ceremonies in progress.

Marion Davies (b. 1948, London, England) Portrait of Alice Herz-Sommer, 2002 Photograph Ben Uri Collection Presented by the artist in 2018 Marion Davies is an award-winning fine art documentary photographer with a background in social science and social work. Her work focuses on themes of remembrance and memory. She is the daughter of German-Jewish émigré art dealer Herbert Bier (1905-1981), who found refuge in Britain during the 1930s. Prague-born Jewish pianist and music teacher Alice Herz-Sommer (1903-2014) was a survivor of Theresienstadt concentration camp. She lived for 40 years in Israel, before moving to London in 1986, where she resided until her death at the age of 110. Marion Davies comments, ‘I met Alice Herz-Sommer three times in her small flat in Belsize Park. On the first occasion in 2006, we chatted and although she rarely played in front of anyone anymore, she agreed to sit by the piano so that I could take a photo. She then started playing for a magical half an hour; during most of this, I listened, unable to move, until I remembered that I should take a few photos. On the second occasion Alice told my poet colleague, Jane Liddell-King, and myself more of her story. On the third occasion, we both returned, and Jane read the poem that she had written and dedicated to Alice. This photograph was taken as Alice listened and commented on the poem.’

Benno Elkan (1877 Dortmund, Germany – 1960 London, England) Panel from the Knesset Menorah, 1956 Bronze Ben Uri Collection Acquisition Presented from the Estate of Brian Sewell, 2018 Immigrated to Great Britain 1933 Elkan studied painting at Munich Academy (1897), and sculpture in Karlsruhe, before visiting Paris, encountering Rodin and Matisse. Elkan married the daughter of Hedwig Einstein, a Rabbi and pianist, with whom he later moved to Frankfurt am Main. In 1933, the couple exiled to London following Hitler's Chancellorship and introduction of antiSemitic legislation. Elkan's work was included in the 'Entartete Kunst' ('Degenerate Art') exhibition (1937). The opposing ‘Twentieth Century German Art’ show (1938), at the New Burlington Galleries London, displayed three of Elkan’s pieces (Heads of Prince Edward, Toscanini and the GermanJewish art dealer, Alfred Flechtheim). Elkan’s works include the first British statue of Sir Walter Raleigh, and designing of Frankfurt’s Great War Memorial (removed by the Nazis in 1933, and re-erected in 1946). The Knesset Menorah, Jerusalem, features engravings of biblical themes and significant historical Jewish events. Both his Old and New Testament Candelabra, incorporating around 80 figures, were donated by Arthur Hamilton Lee (1868-1947) to Westminster Abbey in 1939 and 1942.

Moshe Galili (1930 Hungary - 2017 London, England) Raoul Wallenberg, 2005 Illuminated stained glass panel Ben Uri Collection Presented by Rafael Galili (the artist’s son), 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1962 Raoul Wallenberg (1912-?) was the Swedish diplomatic envoy in Budapest in the closing years of the Second World War. He displayed great personal courage, issuing protective passports and sheltering Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory, thereby saving thousands of Hungarian Jews from the gas chambers. In January 1945 when the Russian Red Army liberated Budapest Wallenberg was arrested and taken to Moscow. In 1957 the Russian Foreign Minister, Andre Gromiko, informed the Swedish government that Wallenberg had died in his prison cell at Lubyanka in 1947, although this remains unconfirmed. Born in Hungary in 1930, Moshe Galili was a child survivor of the Holocaust kept alive in hiding by the courageous efforts of his mother; his father was killed fighting the Nazis in Budapest. In 1948, Galili settled in Israel, completing his military service and studying at the Bezalel Art School in $ Jerusalem, becoming an early member of the artistic village at Ein Hod. He also studied art in Italy, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and in London. Galili intended his Holocaust Paintings and Stained Glass panels to act as a reminder and educative tool for future generations.

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891 St-Jean-de-Braye, France – 1915 Neuville-Saint-Vaast, France) Sculptural Head of Brodzky, c. 1913 Black chalk on paper Ben Uri Collection Purchased at Christie’s London March 2018 through the support of three great friends of Manya Ingel in her honour Immigrated to Great Britain in 1911 French Sculptor and draughtsman Henri Gaudier first visited England in 1905, studying in Bristol on a fellowship. Afterwards, he moved to Germany and then Paris, where he began to sculpt. In 1911 he returned to London accompanied by the Polish writer Sophie Brzeska, who was twenty years his senior, adding her surname to his. By 1913 Gaudier-Brzeska was part of a progressive circle which included T E Hulme, Ezra Pound and Jacob Epstein, becoming a founder member of The London Group, as well as a member of the Vorticists and publishing work in their journal "Blast". He also had a close friendship with artists Horace Brodzky and Alfred Wolmark, both of whom he sculpted. His sculptures, predominantly of the human head, figures and animals, closely based on observations from nature, increasingly became radically simplified and geometrical. In 1915 he volunteered for the army and was killed in action at the age of 24. A study for the bronze and plaster bust Portrait of Brodzky (1913), this is one of two portrait heads of Australian-born Jewish painter and draughtsman Horace Brodzky (1885-1969). Brodzky published a biography of Gaudier-Brzeska in 1933.

Mark Gertler (1891 Spitalfields, London, England– 1939 Hampstead, London, England) The Artist’s Brother, Harry, 1911 Oil on canvas Ben Uri Collection Luke Gertler Bequest, On loan with Art Fund support Harry was the artist’s eldest brother and another frequent model, particularly from 1912–15 when Gertler lived in an attic studio at 32 Elder Street, Spitalfields, with Harry, his wife Anne and their baby, Renée, occupying the floors below. Harry entered his father’s furriery business (later joined by his younger brother Jack), which survived several bankruptcies and fires but eventually folded in the 1930s. Harry’s large, widely spaced eyes and full lips lend this ostensibly formal portrait a sensuality which, together with his confident pose, helps capture the sense of a real and immediate presence. It was greatly admired by George Howard Darwin, Plumian Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge (1883–1912), and father of the painter and engraver Gwen Darwin (later Raverat), Gertler’s fellow Slade pupil, who commissioned his own portrait (National Portrait Gallery), as a result. In later paintings, c. 1913, under the influence of postImpressionism, Gertler transformed Harry into a radical, simplified ‘peasant’ figure far removed from this Edwardian portrayal.

Mark Gertler (1891 Spitalfields, London, England – 1939 Hampstead, London, England) The Artist’s Parents, c. 1909–1910 Oil on canvas Ben Uri Collection Luke Gertler Bequest, On loan with Art Fund support Gertler’s touching double-portrait of his parents, created during his student years at the Slade School of Fine Art, demonstrates his understanding of chiaroscuro (the treatment of light and shade in painting and drawing), as he captures not only their likenesses but also their relative positions within the household and his own life; his relationship with his father never fully recovered from their separation during his early childhood after his father left Galicia to seek work in America, before the family was eventually reunited in London, less than a mile from where Mark had been born. Although Louis appears in the foreground of the picture, it is his mother, Golda, with her large capable hand resting upon her husband’s shoulder, who dominates the portrait just as she did family life. Her close relationship to her youngest son is illustrated by her strong and recurring presence in his early portraiture.

Mark Gertler (1891 Spitalfields, London, England – 1939 Hampstead, London, England) The Coster Woman, 1923 Oil on canvas Luke Gertler Bequest, on loan with Art Fund support After visiting Paris in 1920, Gertler expressed his admiration for Renoir in a series of female portraits that reveal a sensuous interplay between the mellow skin tones and often highly coloured and elaborate costumes of his sitters. The flamboyant scarf and feathered hat identify this sitter as a ‘Coster’, removed from her urban setting, relocated (like the artist himself) to Hampstead, and set against a backdrop of the Heath. The artist’s family always believed the model to be Gertler’s eldest sister, Debbie. The same model appears as the matriarch in The Coster Family on Hampstead Heath (1924, Tel Aviv Museum of Art). This painting formerly belonged to the English tenor Peter Pears. It was sold to pay for repairs following a fire at the Snape Maltings concert hall in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, that Pears had established with the composer Benjamin Britten.

Mark Gertler (1891 Spitalfields, London, England – 1939 Hampstead, London, England) Talmudic Discussion, 1911 Oil on canvas On long term loan from a Private Collection Gertler’s composition is a direct response to William Rothenstein’s Reading the Book of Esther (1907, Manchester Art Gallery), which he admired at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1910). Subsequently he employed the same dark-haired sitter as his own model. In palette, technique and setting, however, Gertler diverged from his early mentor’s depiction of public religious ceremony to create more intimacy, employing earthy tones with splashes of colour and detail, such as the still-life of apples. The painting was exhibited at Vanessa Bell’s Friday Club at the Alpine Gallery, London, February 1911. After his first showing there in June 1910, Bell had singled Gertler out as ‘promising [...] he has two rather remarkable paintings, remarkable really only considering his age, but I think he must be going to be good’.

Mark Gertler (1891 Spitalfields, London, England – 1939 Hampstead, London, England) Trees at Sanatorium, Scotland, 1921 Oil on canvas Luke Gertler Bequest, On loan with Art Fund support After a collapse in health and the diagnosis of tuberculosis, Gertler was confined to Banchory Sanatorium, near Aberdeen, in November 1920 until May 1921. Initially forbidden to paint for long periods, he eventually left with nine completed paintings, three of them landscapes, all observed from his window. The progress of this work – the most significant – is charted in letters to his friends between February and May 1921, in which he admitted a fascination for its upright, panel shape. After learning in April that his health was sufficiently improved to leave, he stayed on to complete the landscape, later giving it to one of the doctors in gratitude for his treatment. When the sanatorium later closed in the 1960s, the doctor tracked down Gertler’s son, Luke, and presented it to him.

Mark Gertler (1891 Spitafields, London, England– 1939 Hampstead, London, England) Daffodils in a Blue Bottle, 1916 Oil on canvas Luke Gertler Bequest, On loan with Art Fund support Gertler began this bold, experimental still life of daffodils in May 1916, during a period of respite away from his major canvas, MerryGo-Round, in an effort to relieve his ‘penniless’ state by painting ‘some small saleable things’. After an uncertain start, he wrote to fellow artist Richard Carline that he had ‘got really interested in it, which means, probably, that it will be too good to sell!’ Though keen to try ‘new notions for colour’, he longed to get back to ‘my Merry-GoRound’. Roger Fry included this painting in his New Movement in Art exhibition in Birmingham, then the Mansard Gallery at Heal’s, London, in 1917.

Henryk Gotlib (1890 Cracow, Poland – 1966 Surrey. England) Two Oxen and Man in Yellow Hat Stooping, 1964 Watercolour on paper Ben Uri Collection Presented by Anne Dockery 2018 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1939 Born to a Jewish family in Cracow, Gotlib studied fine art in Cracow and Vienna before the First World War, then travelled widely in southern Europe. Aesthetically allied to various Polish 1920s avant-garde groups, and greatly influenced by Rembrandt and the European expressionists, he later put colour and form at the core of his art. During a visit to London with his new wife in 1939, the couple were trapped by the outbreak of war. However, Gotlib swiftly established himself in the British art world: publishing Polish Painting in 1942, exhibiting alongside fellow Polish and Czechoslovak Artists at the Ashmolean, Oxford, the same year and becoming a member of the London Group. From 1945-49, he held three solo exhibitions at Roland Browse and Delbanco Gallery. This rural scene was created towards the end of Gotlib's life. In an essay of 1957, the artist stated that 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’.

Fred Kormis (ne Fritz Kormis, 1894 Frankfurt, Germany – 1986 London, England) Seated Female Nude Terracotta sculpture Ben Uri Collection Presented in memory of the artist Fred Kormis and his friendship with the Graham and Lee families 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain 1934


! $ ! $ !

Fred Kormis was born into a German-Jewish family in 1897 and apprenticed to a sculpture workshop at the age of 14. During the First World War (owing to his Austrian father), he was drafted into the Austrian army, and in 1915 was captured, wounded and imprisoned for five years in Siberia - an experience which moulded the rest of his life and work. After escaping, he returned to Frankfurt in 1920, where he resumed his career, but following Hitler's rise to power in 1933, fled first to Holland and then, in 1934 to England, where he settled in the 'Finchleystrasse' area of North London, later gaining British citizenship. Much of his work was lost after his studio was bombed in 1940. Kormis' memorial work was a major part of his oeuvre and includes the five-piece Prisoners of War and Concentration Camp Victims Memorial in Gladstone Park, Dollis Hill, and a relief plaque, Marchers, outside Kings College, London. His smaller-scale works are more playful and tender. A memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Sternberg Centre in 1988.

Solomon Alexander Hart (1806 Plymouth, England - 1881 London, England) The Writing on the Wall, c. 1837-38 Watercolour on paper Ben Uri Collection Purchased at auction 2019 Solomon Alexander Hart has been called ‘the first important AngloJewish artist’; born in Plymouth of German-émigré descent, both his father, and younger brother were well--known engravers. Unable to afford an apprenticeship, Hart was self-taught, drawing from ancient sculptures at the British Museum, before enrolling at the Royal Academy in 1823 for painting lessons, supporting himself by making copies and colouring theatrical prints. In 1826 he began exhibiting at the Royal Academy, depicting his first Jewish subjects in 1830: The Elevation of the Law (Suffolk Street Gallery) and Polish Synagogue, which brought him many commissions. His Conference between Manasseh ben Israel and Oliver Cromwell, bought by F. D. Mocatta, was presented to Jews’ College (now the London School of Jewish Studies). Hart was elected an Associate Royal Academician in 1835, becoming the first Jewish Royal Academician in 1840, Professor of Painting (1854–63), and finally, librarian in 1864. An influential figure, he was also curator of the Painted Hall, Greenwich, and adviser to the British and South Kensington museums. Among his friends were J. M. W. Turner and Sir William Collins. . The synagogue depicted, variously known as the “Polish” Synagogue, Cutler Street or Carter Street Synagogue, was situated on the first floor of a building on the corner of these two streets. Established between 1790 and 1802, it was one of three minor congregations reputedly established in London in the eighteenth century, serving as a predominantly lower-middle class Ashkenazi Orthodox Jewish community. Hart’s painting is one of the earliest watercolours of a synagogue interior to be painted in Britain

Halina Korn (née Halina Julia Korngold 1902 Warsaw Poland – 1978 London, England) Sketch for Bus Stop Pencil Ben Uri Collection Presented by Maryla Zulawski 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1940 Polish-Jewish Halina Korn initially trained as a singer and was largely self-taught as a painter and sculptor, encouraged by her husband, the Polish painter Marek Żuławski, whom she had first met in France in 1939. Although separated by the outbreak of war, following the Nazi occupation in 1940, she ended up in a British refugee camp, before being reunited with Marek. After learning that her entire family had been killed (her sister, Jadzia, perished in Auschwitz), she suffered depression and was later diagnosed with intensifying bipolar disorder. Her art acted as a powerful form of therapy and she concentrated on everyday life, observing: ‘a bunch of human beings at Lyons [Corner House] is as beautiful as a bunch of flowers. The landscape of Kilburn High Road gives me the same kick as the most picturesque Italian scene. I am not looking for beauty nor [sic] ugliness’. She had a solo exhibition of her London works at the Mayor Gallery, London (1948), was a member of the Artist’s International Association and the Women’s International Art Group, and also exhibited with the London Group, at the Royal Academy and at Ben Uri.

Halina Korn (née Halina Julia Korngold 1902 Warsaw Poland – 1978 London, England) Bus Stop Oil on canvas Ben Uri Collection Presented by Maryla Zulawski 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1940

Marevna (Marie Vorobieff-Stebelska, 1892 Cheboksary, Russia – 1984 London) Two Portrait Sketches of Chaim Soutine, 1967 Black pen on paper Ben Uri Collection, presented from a private collection 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1921 Russian émigré Marevna settled in Paris in 1912 amid the artistic community of La Ruche, where her circle included Amedeo Modigliani, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Chaim Soutine; she exhibited at The Tuileries in 1912. In 1915 she met the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, with whom she had a daughter, Marika, and under his influence, embraced cubism. In 1921 she settled in England with Marika and later in life made many portraits from memory of the Parisian circle of her youth.

Marevna née Marie Vorobieff-Stebelska (1892 Cheboksary, Russia – 1984 London, England) Portrait Sketch of Marc Chagall with Cat, 1967 Pencil on paper Ben Uri Collection Presented from a private collection in 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1921

Philip Naviasky (1894 Leeds, England – 1983 Leeds, England) Portrait of a Rabbi, 1912 Oil on canvas Ben Uri Collection Presented by the estate of the late Brian Sewell 2018 This contemplative work, one of Naviasky’s finest portraits, has been newly presented from the estate of the late art historian and critic Brian Sewell (1931-2015). First exhibited at the Ben Uri Story exhibition (2001), Bond Street, it was accompanied by Sewell’s essay illustrating the cultural contribution of the generation of ‘33-45 Jewish émigrés. Born to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents in Leeds, Naviasky entered attained a scholarship to Leeds School of Fine Arts in 1907. In 1912 he became the youngest ever student accepted into the Royal Academy Schools, London, winning a Royal Exhibition award and studying at the Royal College of Art. Afterwards, he returned to Leeds, where he practiced as an artist and teacher at Leeds College of Art. He specialised in oil portraits of women, children and atmospheric landscapes.


Irving Penn (1917 New Jersey U.S.A – 2009 New York, U.S.A) Sir Jacob Epstein, 1950 Photograph (sheet printed gravure) Ben Uri Collection Purchased at auction 2019 Irving Penn was born into a Russian-Jewish family in New Jersey, USA. He is best-known for his fashion photography at Vogue but also his powerful portraiture, modernist compositions and photographic travel essays. His portrait of sculptor Jacob Epstein was shot in London in 1950. Three months earlier, in Paris, inspired by Eugene Atget's photographs of workers, Penn had posed Parisian celebrities, including the sculptor Alberto Giacometti, in their working clothes accompanied by the tools of their trade. Later in London he also photographed London traders including chimney sweeps, newspaper sellers, and a coalman, dusted with soot. Epstein's influence upon Penn can be seen in the latter’s photograph of the Steel Mill Firefighter, reminiscent of Epstein’s 1913 radical, robot-like sculpture, Rock Drill.

Peter Laszlo Peri (1898 Budapest, Hungary - 1967 London, England) Woman with Hands on Hips (Pregnant) Coloured concrete Ben Uri Collection Purchased 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain 1933 Marxist critic Francis Klingender described Peri’s work as exhibiting a ‘rigorous economy of sculptural form. All superflous detail is omitted and the content is vitalised [...] by being reduced to its essential elements.’ Born in Budapest into a large proletarian Jewish family, Peri began studying fine art, then architecture, in Budapest and Berlin, in 1919, following a bricklaying apprenticeship. He moved to Paris in 1920 until, banished due to his political activities. After a period in Vienna, he settled in Berlin in 1921, becoming a member of the Communist party and creating his first geometric reliefs.


! $ ! $ !

In 1933, Peri immigrated to England after his wife, Mary Macnaghten (granddaughter of social reformer Charles Booth) was arrested for possession of Communist propaganda. Peri contributed to the constructivist movement by producing irregularly shaped wall reliefs, opening up new planes and discovering concrete as a potential sculptural medium. He exhibited concrete works in 1934 at the Artists’ International Association (AIA) exhibition The Social Scene and made contact with antiNazi photomontagist John Heartfield. In 1938 he held a solo show London Life in Concrete, sponsored by the Cement and Concrete Association. A retrospective was held at Leicestershire Museums in 1991.

Stephen Roth (Pishta) (1911 Zilna - 1967 London, England) To Be or Not to Be, undated Pen and ink Original cartoon Ben Uri Collection Presented by Michael Schlesinger 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1939 This cartoon of Hitler appears as the final image on the last page of Roth’s book of cartoons, Finale (1944). Stephen Roth was born in Slovakia in 1911. In 1931 he moved to Prague where he drew sports cartoons, joke illustrations and portraits for various papers and magazines, signing his work 'Stephen'. In 1935 he became Political Cartoonist on the antiNazi weekly Demokraticky Stred edited by Dr H. Ripka - later head of the Czechoslovak Propaganda Department in London during the Second World War. Forced to leave Czechoslovakia in 1938, he went to Poland, then Sweden before arriving in London only days before war broke out in September 1939. By 1941 Roth was contributing political cartoons to the Ministry of Information, Central European Observer and the Free Norwegian newspaper Norsk Tidend. His popular series "Acid Drops" began to appear in the Sunday Pictorial in 1942. He also contributed to the Star, Lilliput, Daily Mirror, Central Press, Courier, Daily Mail (sports cartoons) and others. The Czech premier Jan Masaryk wrote a Foreword to Roth’s book, My Patience is Exhausted (1942), and in 1943, he published a book of anti-Nazi cartoons called Divided They Fall. In 1961 Roth began contributing two series of portrait cartoons - "The Face is Familiar" and "Man in the City" - to the London Evening News. His work is also in the Wiener Library, the University of Kent and the Swann Collection in the Library of Congress.

William Rothenstein (1872 Yorkshire, England - 1945 Gloucestershire, England) Self-portrait, 1914 Pencil on paper Ben Uri Collection Purchased 2019 Rothenstein’s small stature, round head and round spectacles, meant he was an instantly recognisable figure, much caricatured by his contemporaries, including Max Beerbohm, William Orpen and ‘Whitechapel Boy’ Mark Wayner, as his own gently self-deprecating selfportrait acknowledges. Born to an assimilated German-Jewish family, William Rothenstein entered the Slade School of Fine Art in London at the age of 16, however, upon the advice of Jewish Royal Academician Solomon J Solomon, he completed his studies in Paris, where he made lasting friendships with Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and J. M. Whistler. Between 1903 and 1906, Rothenstein carried out an important and well received series of works on Jewish subjects in London’s East End. As well as being an artist, critic, teacher, writer, lecturer, and prominent member of artistic societies, he was also an important friend and mentor to many artists including Mark Gertler and Barnett Freedman. In 1919 he was appointed Visitor to the Royal College of Art, becoming Principal (1920 -35); he was knighted in 1931.

Miriam Sacks (1922 Cape Town, South Africa – 2004 London, England) Fugue, 1968 Wool Tapestry On long-term loan to the Ben Uri Collection Immigrated to Great Britain in 1946 Miriam Sacks was born into a Jewish family in South Africa in 1922 and studied for an MA in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. In 1946 she left for the UK, and later went to live in Southern Rhodesia. Here she ran a children's art school from 1950-56, afterwards travelling extensively in the USA. From 1958-63 she developed her own individual, experimental technique to create tapestries or ‘woven images’, using needle and thread, in the manner of a painter using brushes and paints, and drawing upon a wide range of themes influenced by her time in Africa, heritage and wider spiritual concerns, in a style moving between figuration and abstraction. She exhibited in the Central African Exhibitions in London at Imperial Institute (1957) , and the Commonwealth Institute (1961), followed by her first solo tapestry show in Cape Town (1962). She returned to the UK in 1964, and two years later exhibited at the British Embassy, Washington DC, USA and had her first solo London show at William Ware Gallery. She exhibited widely at London venues including the Design Centre; Whitechapel Gallery; Camden Art Centre (1967), Ben Uri Gallery (1969) and Leighton House, as well as with the Weavers’ Workshop Edinburgh; Kettles Yard Cambridge (1970), and many other venues. Her work will be the subject of a paper at the upcoming Sotheby’s Institute of Art conference on Design and the Diaspora (April 2020) and will be included in an émigré textiles exhibition at Ben Uri in 2021.

Kurt Schwitters (1887 Hanover Germany – 1948 Kendal, Lake district, England) Untitled, 1927 Collage Ben Uri Collection Purchased from the family of Elsa Fraenkel, 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain in 1940 Born in Hanover, Schwitters studied art at Dresden Academy with Otto Dix and Georg Grosz. After Germany’s collapse, Schwitter’s work changed dramatically, working with fragmentary materials and detritus, which he called ‘Merz’. This remained central to his work for the rest of his life. Schwitters left Nazi Germany for Norway in 1937, arriving in Britain in 1940 where he was interned until 1941, on the Isle of Man. After release, he briefly resided in London before moving to the Lake District. This tiny collage exemplifies Schwitters’ links to the avant garde Dada group. Acquired directly from the family of sculptor, Elsa Fraenkel, the work provides a link between two refugees of Nazism, whose earlier friendship was rekindled in England. The inclusion of the word ‘Paris’ perhaps references both artists’ time in the city.

Zory Shahrokhi (b. Iran - lives London) Revolution Street 2, 2019 Mixed media on paper Ben Uri Collection Commissioned by Ben Uri in response to 'Liberators: 12 Extraordinary Women Artists from the Ben Uri Collection' (2018) Zory Shahrokhi is a British-Iranian visual artist based in Greater London whose practice explores cultural and political agendas. She explores a wide range of media processes as well as sculpture and time-based imagery, performance and photography. Her artistic expression is influenced by her background but concerned with universal issues around the contemporary human condition and breaches in human rights. She is primarily interested in the issues and perceptions around displacement, exploitation and gender oppression. This work (one of two of the same title) is the artist's commissioned response to the exhibition, Liberators: 12 Extraordinary Women Artists from the Ben Uri Collection (2018). The title refers to “the Girls of Enghelab (Revolution) Street" movement, started in central Tehran in 2018, after a woman removed her headscarf in protest against the compulsory wearing of the hijab. The piece also incorporates swallows made from Persian cloth given to the artist by her friends and family, referencing her installation Flying (2016).

Marek Szwarc (aka Marek Schwarz, 1892 Zgierz, Poland – 1958 Paris, France) A Jew from Shtetl, c.1914-19 Oil on canvas Ben Uri Collection Purchased 2019 Immigrated to Great Britain 1940 Polish sculptor, painter and printmaker Marek Szwarc moved to Paris in 1910 to study sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, living alongside fellow Ecole de Paris artists in the settlement known as La Ruche, including Ben Uri founder Lazar Berson, and collaborating with other Jewish émigrés on the Yiddish art journal 'Machmadim'. He returned to Lodz in 1914, then travelled to Ukraine and Russia in 1918, visiting local Jewish literary circles and studying sculpture, before returning again to Lodz in early 1919 and co-founding the Young Yiddish Group with Jankel Adler. In June 1920, Szwarc returned to Paris, initially working as a painter, before turning to sculpture; he also converted to Roman Catholicism. He specialised in religious scenes and portraits in a style that combined elements of neo-classicism, African sculpture and Jewish folk art. During the Second World War, Szwarc enlisted as a volunteer in the Polish Army in France, alongside Jankel Adler, with whom he was also reunited in Scotland and London, where he continued to practise as an artist, before returning to Paris after the war. This work is likely to date from Szwarc’s early years in Poland and his interest, c. 1914-19, in Jewish subject matter. The rope around the man’s neck probably denotes a trade, such as that of a rope porter (who carried heavy loads, such as water, furniture or food); a worker in the burgeoning textile industry rapidly expanding in Poland during this period; or that of rope-spinner.


Edith Tudor-Hart (née Suschitzky, 1908, Vienna, Austria – 1973, Brighton, England) Elizabeth Tomalin, c. 1950s Photograph Ben Uri Collection Presented by Stefany Tomalin 2018 Immigrated to Great Britain 1933 Edith Tudor-Hart specialised in Social Realist photography but also undertook some work as a studio photographer. This intimate portrait of fellow émigré Elisabeth Tomalin (née Wallach, 1912- 2012) was made for the sitter's professional use as a textile designer (she was then running a studio for Marks and Spencer). Tomalin's husband, left-wing writer and member of the International Brigade, Miles Tomalin, recalled Tudor-Hart 'slowly extricating herself from communist activism [...] a nice woman but obviously fighting a long defensive battle against all manner of unhappiness. She has a schizophrenic child. We have had her photograph Stefany a couple of times [...] she does it well'. Edith Tudor-Hart was born into a Jewish, socialist family in Vienna and trained in photography at the Bauhaus in Dessau. In 1933, fleeing Nazi persecution, she fled to London with her English husband. As a Communist-sympathiser she assisted in the recruitment of the Cambridge Spy Ring. By the late 1940s she was part of a network of German-speaking émigrés clustered around north west London, with overlapping interests in the arts and psychotherapy.

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum 108a Boundary Road London NW8 ORH T: 020 7604 3991 Charity No. 280389

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.