Ben Uri collection

Girl in a Red Shirt

Artist information

Name Ottilie Tolansky (1912-1977)

Other name Ottilie Pincasovitch

Born Czernowitz, Romania

Died London, England

Find more work in the collection by this artist

Ottilie Tolansky (née Pincasovitch) was born in 1912 in Czernowitz (now Chernivtsi in Western Ukraine), then in the Northern Bukovinan sector of Austro-Hungary. She grew up in Vienna (and always considered herself Austrian) and later in Berlin, where she studied at the Hochschule. In 1933, following the rise of Nazism in Europe, she moved to England and continued her studies at Manchester Municipal School and after the end of the Second World War, at Hammersmith School of Art in London. She married the distinguished physicist Prof. Sam Tolansky FRS. Tolansky was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and with many artists' groups including the Womens International Art Club, the New English Art Club and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, of which she was a member. She favoured portraiture (particularly of women), nudes, elaborate still lifes and flower pieces. Following her death in 1977, the Mall Galleries held a major retrospective of her work in 1979.

Object Details

Date c. 1950s

Object type painting

Medium oil on canvas

Materials and techniques oil (medium) canvas (support)

Unframed 124 X 62 cm

Framed 147 X 85.5 cm

Signed signed, bottom right: Tolansky

Acquisition presented by Jon Tolansky, 1990

Accession number 2012-1990-27

Display status not on display

Tolansky's paintings, as Bernard Dunstan observed in her ‘Times’ obituary, ‘were immediately recognisable by her use of strongly defined planes of colour, luminous and clear, with blues and violets predominating’. In this strikingly-posed portrait, the sitter’s red shirt stands out strongly against the muted, thinly-painted background. Although undated, the sitter’s clothing, particularly her hat and the width of her sleeves, suggest that it dates to the late 1950s.


girl | painting | portrait | red | shirt


'Jewish Artists: the Ben Uri Collection - Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Sculpture', ed. Walter Schwab and Julia Weiner (London: Ben Uri in association with Lund Humphries, 1994), p. 153.

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© Ottilie Tolansky estate