Ben Uri collection


Artist information

Name Jack Bilbo (1907-1967)

Other name Hugo Baruch

Born Berlin, Germany

Died Berlin, Germany

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Jack Bilbo (as he preferred to be known) was variously a sailor, tramp, stage designer, reporter, author, self-taught artist, and gallery owner. Arrested for anti-fascist activities in 1933, he escaped to France, then Spain, arriving in England in 1936. Interned in Onchan camp, Isle of Man, for six months, he organised art exhibitions visited by 1500 internees, afterwards establishing the Modern Art Gallery in London as a platform ‘against Hitlerism’. It became a vital meeting place for artists including Kurt Schwitters. Bilbo’s own art, influenced by Surrealism, depicts bizarre, erotic or grotesque themes. Postwar he returned to Berlin, where he opened a bar.

Object Details

Date 1963

Object type painting

Medium gouache on paper

Materials and techniques gouache (medium) paper (support)

Unframed 46.7 x 35 cm

Framed 89 x 54.7 cm

Signed signed, bottom right: J.B.

Acquisition gift from Merry Kerr-Woodeson 1987

Accession number 1987-31

Display status On display in 'Finchleystrasse: German artists in exile in Great Britain and beyond 1933-45' until 27 September 2018

Bilbo's art, influenced by Surrealism, typically depicts bizarre, erotic or grotesque themes.


painting | portrait

Selected exhibition history

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

2017 Refugees: The Lives of Others - German Refugee Artists to the UK

2018 Finchleystrasse: German artists in exile in Great Britain and beyond 1933-45

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© Jack Bilbo estate