The Émigrés who transformed the British Art World

Charles and Peter Gimpel of Gimpel Fils Ida Kar, 1958 © National Portrait Gallery, London

This major new exhibition, open from 17 July to 9 August, tells the story of the pioneering émigré dealers and publishers who revolutionised Britain’s art world.

Brave New Visions shows how in bleak post-war London, a group of émigrés who had found sanctuary in Britain in the 1930s re-made their lives and introduced avant-garde European and British artists such as Naum Gabo, Oskar Kokoschka, Kurt Schwitters, Graham Sutherland and Ben Nicholson to the broader public.

Featuring over 40 paintings and sculptures, alongside unique documentary material, the exhibition reveals the little-explored narrative that binds the founders of what are now some of the best known establishments on the London art scene, including Marlborough Fine Art, Crane Kalman Gallery, Annely Juda Fine Art and Gimpel Fils.

Fellow émigrés Béla Horovitz and Ludwig Goldscheider at Phaidon, and Walter Neurath and Eva Feuchtwang at Thames & Hudson, led a parallel revolution in the staid world of British publishing. They provided an international platform for European scholarship in affordable and seminal art books such as Ernst Gombrich’s best-selling The Story of Art and the World of Art Library while raising standards of design and reproduction.

The Brave New Visions catalogue is available here.

Brave New Visions is free and open to the public Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm, Sotheby’s, St George Street Gallery 1-2 St George Street, London W1S 2FE.


Artbooks for all, from Vienna to London

Panel Discussion
Thursday, 18 July, 12-1pm

Elly Miller, daughter of Béla Horovitz, co-founder of the Phaidon Press, and Constance Kaine, daughter of Walter Neurath, co-founder of Thames & Hudson, will be in conversation with Anna Nyburg, who has researched the histories of both publishing houses. Horovitz and Neurath came to London from Vienna in 1938, when as Jews they were forced to flee the Nazi occupiers. Their daughters dedicated their careers to continuing their families’ art publishing companies. Register here


Portrait of Wally (detail), Egon Schiele, 1912

The Realities of Restitution

Panel Discussion
Friday, 19 July, 11am-12.30pm

Richard Aronowitz, European Head of Restitution at Sotheby’s, restitution specialist Shauna Isaac, art dealer René Gimpel and Abby Brindley, Associate in Art Law at Mishcon de Reya will discuss the challenges involved in recovering looted artworks. Richard Aronowitz will illustrate the lengthy process of provenance research at Sotheby’s, Shauna Isaac will discuss her family’s landmark restitution victory – United States vs Portrait of Wally, René Gimpel will shed light on a current case involving his family, and Abby Brindley will offer a legal view. Register here

In partnership with Mishcon de Reya LLP.


Two men looking at a sculpture from all sides (undated picture), 1950-1969, Augsburg, Germany. Gert Mähler/Süddeutsche Zeitung Photo

Navigating the Art World

Panel Discussion
Tuesday, 23 July, 11am-12.30pm

The creation of art is complicated enough; for the artist the international business of art can present both commercial opportunities and challenges. How can those creating art and working in the art market protect their confidentiality, legacy and reputation? What practical and legal steps should they take? Why is reputation so important?

Amanda Gray, Partner, and Jon Sharples, Associate, both of Art Law, Mishcon de Reya LLP and Tom Christopherson, former European General Counsel at Sotheby’s, Legal Consultant at Bonhams, and Head of Art and Law Studies at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and Gilane Tawadros from DACS, will discuss how those entering the art market can best navigate this world – from the very start of their careers to ensuring their standing in the longer term. Register here

In partnership with Mishcon de Reya LLP


The Scream (detail), Edvard Munch, 1893

To Catch an Art Thief

Panel Discussion
Wednesday, 24 July, 11am-12.00pm

Richard ‘Dick’ Ellis, former head of New Scotland Yard’s Art Squad, will unravel the intricacies in finding and recovering stolen art. He will reveal how his leads include an international network of both law enforcement officials and criminals. Dick has solved several high profile cases including the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from Norway’s National Gallery, and Audubon’s Birds of America lifted from the State Library in St. Petersburg. Register here



Brave New Visions: films

Interviews filmed by Andrew Snell, assisted by Eileen Hughes.
Interviews conducted by Sue Grayson Ford.

Watch here