Brave New Visions
17 July - 9 AugustFree
Sotheby’s, St George Street Gallery
The Émigrés who transformed the British Art World
In bleak, war-damaged 1940s London, British gallery-goers had barely adjusted to Post-Impressionism, let alone the challenges posed by Picasso. Then everything changed. A group of émigrés, who had fled Nazi Europe, resolved to embrace the future and introduce avant-garde European and British artists to the public and press. Until then artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Kokoschka, Naum Gabo, Graham Sutherland and Francis Bacon were scarcely known in Britain. The Pioneering dealers who transformed the London gallery scene included Lea Bondi Jaray, Erica Brausen, Henry Roland, Gustav Delbanco, Andras Kalman, Frank Lloyd, Harry Fischer, Annely Juda and Charles and Peter Gimpel. Key paintings and sculptures by the artists they championed will tell the story of their galleries: St George’s; Roland, Browse & Delbanco; Hanover; Gimpel Fils; Marlborough Fine Art; Crane Kalman; Molton; Hamilton and Annely Juda Fine Art. Their influence and impact was profound – and remains so.
Fellow émigrés led a parallel revolution in the staid world of British publishing, providing a platform for European scholarship in affordable art books which raised standards of design and reproduction. Phaidon and Thames & Hudson remain leaders in this field.