The Ballad of the Cosmo Café
A taster clip (filmed by Andrew Snell with Eileen Hughes) from the sell-out production at St. Peter’s Church Hall, Belsize Park, November 2019.
Insiders/Outsiders: Refugees From Nazi Europe & Their Contribution to British Culture
Filmed as part of Jewish Book Week, featuring Monica Bohm-Duchen, Anna Nyburg, Daniel Snowman.
King’s Place, London on 6 March 2019
The Émigrés who transformed the British Art World: Brave New Visions
Interviews with the descendants of three émigré art dealers filmed by Andrew Snell
Interviews conducted by Sue Grayson Ford
Crane Kalman Gallery
Andrew and Sally Kalman describe their father’s brave attempt to open a modern art gallery in an old air-raid shelter in Manchester in 1949. In the early days, Andras Kalman used a sandwich-board for publicity and strapped Sutherland paintings and Moore sculptures to his car roof but with the timely support of L S Lowry he eventually made a success of it. He opened the Crane Kalman Gallery in Knightsbridge in 1957 featuring mainly modern British artists like Ben Nicholson. Kalman, who lost most of his family to the Holocaust, was also a pioneering collector of early British Folk Art and this collection is now housed at Compton Verney in Warwickshire.
René Gimpel tells the story of his family’s remarkable exploits during the second world war with the British Army at El Alamein and Monte Cassino and, undercover, with the Special Operations Executive, The Baker Street Irregulars. He reveals how the Gimpel Fils gallery was set up in 1946 using proceeds from the sale of old master paintings that had amazingly survived the Blitz hidden in a garage in Paddington. René believes it was precisely because they were outsiders with a different cultural heritage that so many Jewish émigrés from Europe chose to champion modern art after the war. He describes the privilege of working with artists, who, he says, have a different way of “reading images” and of working with clever, knowledgeable collectors like David Bowie.
Annely Juda Fine Art
“Hitler was a painter, but not a very good one.” With these words, perhaps not surprisingly, David Juda’s grandfather found himself imprisoned and his business appropriated by the Nazis. Annely, David’s mother even heard Hitler giving a speech at her school in Kassel in Germany but, David says, she was always eager to embrace the future and in later years showed no bitterness towards her homeland. She set up Annely Juda Fine Art in Soho with David in 1967 and they established a reputation for championing Central European Modernism and the new generation of British abstract artists. “Bad figurative art” said Annely “is a lot worse than any abstract art” and she earned in David’s words a reputation for being “honest, knowledgeable and correct,” a legacy he seeks to continue.
Brave New Visions: Opening Panel Discussion
This video, from Sotheby’s in London, celebrated the exhibition Brave New Visions, which paid homage to the pioneering émigré dealers who revolutionised Britain’s art world.
The panel discussion features Sir Nicholas Serota, Gill Hedley and René Gimpel, and moderator Monica Bohm-Duchen.
Hans Feibusch Interview
Interview by Prof. Vaughan Grylls, Kent Institute of Art & Design (1995)
Singing a Song in a Foreign Land (RCM: oral history interviews, biographical notes and performance footage)
Belonging and Not Belonging: Émigré Artists in Britain after 1933
Monica Bohm-Duchen, Creative Director of the nationwide Insiders/Outsiders Festival, considers the experiences of the artists who found refuge in this country from Nazi persecution. Recorded at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK, on Thursday 26 September 2019.
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Refugee architects of the inter-war period – can you contribute?
Valeria Carullo, Curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects, has recently started a research project based on the activities of the RIBA Refugee Committee, set up in 1939 in response to the sharp rise in requests for admission to the country from Central European architects. The RIBA Collections hold a significant number of photographs and drawings sent by some of the applicants to strengthen their case – material remarkable not only for its poignant association with a difficult period of European history but also for the access it grants us to the work of lesser known continental architects of the inter-war period. The first phase of this research focussed on the committee’s activities, with the aim of highlighting the cultural attitudes of the British architectural establishment at the outbreak of the Second World War. The second phase consisted in the creation of a comprehensive list of all the architects that were brought to the attention of the committee, and any personal details to be found in the Committee papers or through research in the RIBA Library. The research will then progress further by utilizing the resources of other institutions, both in Britain and abroad; however, a great contribution could also come from individuals who have direct or indirect knowledge of architects who succeeded (or tried) to emigrate to Britain as a result of the rise of Nazism and Fascism in the inter-war period.
If you have any information that you think might be useful, or would like to hear more about the research, please contact:
Curator, The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection
RIBA British Architectural Library
Email: Valeria Carullo
The Hitler Émigrés: interviews by Daniel Snowman
During the late 1990s, as Daniel Snowman began work on his book The Hitler Emigrés: The Cultural Impact on Britain of Refugees from Nazism, he recorded interviews with some of the most distinguished among the émigrés, many of them by that time in their late 70s and 80s. Among them were artists, architects, musicians, film makers, photographers, authors, publishers, broadcasters, philosophers, historians, scientists and others who had been actively involved in the promotion of Britain’s cultural, artistic and intellectual life. Many of these interviews are now available online – uncut and unedited – in the sound archives of the Imperial War Museum.
Berlin/London: The Lost Photographs of Gerty Simon online exhibition. The Wiener Holocaust Library received a large number of Gerty Simon’s original prints of portraits taken in Berlin and London from the estate of her son Bernard (Bernd), along with documents relating to her life and work. In 2019, The Wiener Holocaust Library staged an exhibition on Gerty Simon’s life and work featuring many of her original prints.
In 2021, a version of the exhibition will be shown at Villa Liebermann, where, for the first time in 80 years, the work of this pioneering photographer will be brought to public attention in Berlin.
As amply demonstrated by the recent show at Four Corners, London, John Heartfield (1891–1968) was one of the most important and innovative political satirical artists to use his work to oppose Fascism. His posters and book covers for the Malik-Verlag and magazine covers for the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ) are essential components of the political iconography of the Weimar Republic as well as of anti-Fascist exile, both in Prague and in London.
More than 6,000 works from Heartfield’s estate are preserved in the Art Collection at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, over 4,000 of which are now accessible to the public online. Although the exhibition planned for the Akademie building on Pariser Platz has been adversely affected by the Coronavirus crisis, a virtual exhibition is now available under the title Cosmos Heartfield.