Ben Uri collection

Study for 'In Memory of the Fighters for the Warsaw Ghetto'

Artist information

Name Josef Herman (1911-2000)

Born Warsaw, Poland

Died London, England

Find more work in the collection by this artist

Painter and draughstman Josef Herman was born into a Jewish, working-class family in Warsaw in 1911. He studied at Warsaw School of Art and Decoration (1930-31), and first exhibited in his native city in 1932. He left Poland for Brussels in 1938 and arrived in Glasgow in 1940, where he was reunited with fellow Polish artist Jankel Adler, whom he had known briefly in Warsaw. Together the two artists contributed to a resurgence of the Scottish arts scene during this period.

Herman moved to London in 1943, prior to his relocation to the Welsh mining village of Ystradgynlais (1944-55), which gave rise to his best-known body of work focusing on the Welsh miners and their community.

Herman's work was included in the South Bank Festival of Britain Exhibition in 1951 and he exhibited widely including at the Lefevre galleries, London (with L S Lowry, 1943), with the emigre art dealers Roland, Browse & Delbanco (1946, 1948, 1952, then regularly until 1975), in London, with Ben Uri (including alongside Martin Bloch in 1949), the Geffrye Museum (with Henry Moore, 1954), the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1956), Camden Arts Centre (1980), National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (1989), Abbot Hall, Kendal (2005), and many exhibitions with Flowers and Flowers East Galleries. His work is represented in many collections including London (Tate, V&A), Wales (National Museum), Scotland (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art); as well as in Canada, Australia, Israel, South Africa and New Zealand.

Object Details

Date 1986

Object type drawing

Medium pen and ink and wash on paper

Materials and techniques ink | pen | wash (medium) drawing (technique) paper (support)

Unframed 45.7 x 40.7 cm

Signed (verso)

Acquisition Presented from the estate of Josef Herman 2017

Accession number 2017-03

Display status not on display

This compelling depiction of a grieving woman is a study for Herman's larger canvas of the same title, begun in the 1970s and reworked in the late 1990s. However, the study also relates back to a similar drawing produced in 1945. This version was used on the cover of his wife Nini Herman's novel 'Vellogria', published in 1993.


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© Josef Herman estate

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