Ben Uri collection

Still Life

Artist information

Name Jankel Adler (1895-1949)

Born Tuszyn, nr. Lodz, Poland

Died Aldbourne, England

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Jankel Adler was born in 1895 in Tuszyn, near ?ód?, into a large orthodox Jewish family. He studied engraving in Belgrade in 1912, then art in Barmen and Düsseldorf until 1914. Adler returned to Poland in 1918, becoming a founder-member of Young Yiddish, a ?ód?-based group of painters and writers dedicated to the expression of their Jewish identity. During the First World War he was conscripted into the Russian army, but resettled in Germany in 1920, notably meeting Marc Chagall in Berlin, before returning to Barmen. In 1922 Adler moved to Düsseldorf, joined the Young Rhineland circle, became friendly with Otto Dix and helped found Die Kommune and the International Exhibition of revolutionary artists in Berlin. His Planetarium frescos in 1925 were highly successful and he exhibited widely. In 1931, at the Düsseldorf Academy, he formed an important friendship with Paul Klee, who had a profound influence on his style.

In 1933 Adler was forced to flee Nazi Germany at the height of his success after his work was declared 'degenerate' – he was later included in the infamous Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition in 1937. His arrival in Paris can be seen as part of a 'second wave' of artists from Russia, who were drawn west to Germany, then to France, though Adler continued to travel widely until 1937, when he worked with the printmaker Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris. He also met Picasso, who became the second major influence on his style. Adler joined the Polish Army upon the outbreak of the Second World War and was evacuated to Scotland in 1940, where he was demobilized owing to poor health. In Glasgow he and Josef Herman – whom he had known previously in Poland – became members of the influential Glasgow New Art club founded by J. D. Fergusson. Adler moved to London in 1943, sharing a house with 'the two Roberts', the painters Colquhoun and MacBryde, whose style he greatly influenced; he died at Aldbourne in Wiltshire in 1949.

Object Details

Object type painting

Medium oil, plaster and mixed media on canvas on board

Materials and techniques oil | plaster (medium) board | canvas (support)

Unframed 65 x 50.5 cm

Framed 73 x 60 cm

Acquisition purchased 1937

Accession number 1987-2

Display status

Selected exhibition history

1944 Opening Exhibition

1945 Exhibition of Paintings by A.A Wolmark (Konstam Collection), Dobrinsky Paris, and a selection of work from the Ben Uri Collection

1946 Ben Uri Collection of Paintings, Sculpture & Drawings

1948 Exhibition of Jewish Art

1957 Jankel Adler 1895-1949, Mark Gertler 1891-1939, Bernard Meninsky, 1891-1950

1960 Selection from the Permanent Collection

2009 Forced Journeys: Artists in Exile in Britain, c. 1933-45

2018 Jankel Adler und die Avant Garde: Chagall, Dix, Klee, Picasso

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© Jankel Adler estate