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 written by Cherith Summers; foreword by Sue Grayson Ford, edited by Monica Bohm-Duchen 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.

 

Brave New Visions: films

Interviews filmed by Andrew Snell, assisted by Eileen Hughes.

Interviews conducted by Sue Grayson Ford.

Watch here

 

 

 

 

Opening panel discussion

Video, from Sotheby’s in London, celebrating the exhibition Brave New Visions, which pays 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. Watch here