Other name nee Wallach
Born Dresden, Germany
Died London, England
After studying at Berlin's Reimann Schule, Tomalin settled in London in the 1930s, marrying journalist and Spanish Civil War veteran, Miles Tomalin. During the war, she worked as a drawing assistant under modernist architect Erno Goldfinger, and alongside designer Abram Games at the Ministry of Information. Postwar, she headed Marks and Spencer’s textile print department, becoming an art therapist in her sixties and teaching (until the age of 94) in Germany, Switzerland and Austria; in her nineties, she took up embroidery.
Object type painting
Medium Gouache on paper
Unframed 51 x 36.1 cm
Acquisition presented by the artist in 2012
Accession number 2013-05
Display status On display in 'Refugees: The Lives of Others' until 4 June 2017
Elisabeth Tomalin’s boldly-coloured head, elaborately constructed in pastel and gouache facets, was created during her studentship at Berlin's progressive Reimann Schule during the late 1920s. It takes inspiration from tribal masks and enamels, which she studied under noted Professor K H Rosenberg. After immigrating to the UK, Tomalin became a colour consultant at Heal’s and a successful designer in the British textile industry, setting up her own designs in a number of colourways. This process is anticipated in her choice of different colours for the two sides of her subject’s face, hair and background.