Ben Uri collection

Portrait of Rabbi Joseph Trostmann

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. 1962-63

Object type painting

Medium oil

Materials and techniques canvas (support)

Unframed 101.3 x 78 cm

Framed 111.8 x 85.6 cm

Signed (lower right) 'Ottilie Tolansky'

Acquisition Presented by the artist's son Jon Tolansky 2018

Accession number 2018-01

Display status not on display

Rabbi Joseph Trostmann was the head of the local Yeshivah in Akkerman, a small Black Sea port, in the early decades of the 20th Century. His granddaughter, Ottilie Tolansky (nee Pincasovitch) remembered him from when she was a child, and many years later she painted two portraits of him based on a combination of her recollections and a family photograph. These portraits, painted in the early 1960s, probably around 1962 or 1963, were virtually identical: one was bought by the Stoke-on-Trent Art Gallery, and the other was retained in the family. At the artist’s death, her son Jonathan Tolansky inherited the second portrait, which he donated to the Ben Uri Gallery.


painting | rabbi

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© The artist's estate