March 2021

This month’s rich offerings include several more informal talks given by descendants of an artist, united by an emphasis on the intimacy and sometimes painful power of family bonds.

We’re also delighted to announce that booking is now open for our fourth intensive programme of online events on a wide range of fascinating topics relevant to the theme of Insiders/Outsiders, most of them taking place between 14 and 25 March. Some were mentioned in our February newsletter, but several are being announced here for the first time.

We hope you enjoy them!


Thursday 4 March at 6pm, lettering designer and carver John Neilson will be in conversation with design historian Tanya Harrod about his new book The Inscriptions of Ralph Beyer, published on 11 January by Lund Humphries. Ceramic artist and writer Edmund de Waal, who wrote the Foreword, will contribute some introductory thoughts.

Exiled at the age of sixteen from Nazi Germany, Ralph Beyer made his home and career in Britain. He was a carver of stone inscriptions, best known for his ‘Tablets of the Word’ in Coventry Cathedral, whose unique voice owed much to his early life in Weimar Germany. In Britain, Beyer studied briefly with Eric Gill, was influenced by David Jones and came to know Henry Moore and Nikolaus Pevsner. He thus straddles both German and British traditions in lettering as well as the wider art world. 

This is event is held in partnership with Lund Humphries.

On Monday 8 March at 6pm, Yorkshire-based visual artist Judith Tucker will talk about her mother, Berlin-born writer Eva Tucker (1929-2015), author of two vivid memoirs, Berlin Mosaic (2005) and Becoming English (2009), who came to the UK with her own mother as a child in 1939. She will also introduce us to her own subtle and allusive work, much of it profoundly influenced by an awareness of her family’s history.

This event is held in partnership with the AJR.

Image: Detail of bookcover, Becoming English, with painting ‘Springboard (1)’ by Judith Tucker

On Thursday 11 March at 6pm, Rüdiger Görner, Founding Director of the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations at Queen Mary, University of London and author of Oskar Kokoschka: The Untimely Modernist, the first English-language biography for many years of this major Austrian-born artist and writer who lived in England between 1938 and 1953, will give a special lecture for Insiders/Outsiders entitled The Red Egg, or The Politics of Oskar Kokoschka 1934-45.

The event will be chaired by art historian and initiator of Insiders/Outsiders Monica Bohm-Duchen and held in association with Haus Publishing.

Image: Detail of bookcover, Oskar Kokoschka: The Untimely Modernist


On Sunday 14 March at 5pm, Norbert Meyn and members of his Ensemble Émigré will pay tribute to German-born composer Robert Kahn, who came to the UK in 1938, at the age of 73, and lived in Biddenden Kent until his death in 1951. It was there that he wrote over 1000 piano pieces which document his time as an émigré in a “Diary in Music”. This event marks the release of a new CD of his musical compositions.


On Monday 15 March at 6pm, Charlotte Grant will talk about her grandfather Martin Bloch (1883-1954), a German-Jewish artist who came to Britain (via Denmark) as a refugee in 1934. Influential as a colourist and teacher, his paintings, which comprise dynamic still lifes, landscapes, and cityscapes, often with figures, are found in public and private collections in Britain, America, Europe and Israel. This talk will focus on the theme of belonging, looking at Bloch’s relationship to the places, people and landscapes he lived amongst and painted in.

The event will be chaired by David Herman, whose artist father Josef Herman, was a good friend of Martin Bloch.

Image: Hope Leaving Schloss (detail), 1934


This will be followed at 8pm on the same day by Jilly Allenby talking about another fascinating grandfather, the German-born Johannes Ilmari Auerbach (1899-1950). Born into an artistic and intellectual Jewish family in Silesia, he studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1921. Auerbach subsequently worked as a sculptor in Paris, before returning to Germany in 1932. Imprisoned in 1933–35, he manged to escape to England in 1938 where he changed his name to John Ivor Allenby.

Image: J.I.Auerbach © The Allenby Family Archive


On Tuesday 16 March at 8pm, Los Angeles-based writer Meg Waite Clayton will talk about her acclaimed novel The Last Train to London, published by HarperCollins. This is a powerful pre-WWII era novel based on the true story of the Kindertransport rescue of ten thousand children from Nazi-occupied Europe—and one brave Dutch woman, Truus Wijsmuller, who helped some of them escape. Although a bestseller in the US and many other countries, it is less well-known in the UK than it deserves to be.

This is event is held in partnership with the AJR.


On Wednesday 17 March at 6pm, Jonathan Petropoulos, author of Goering’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World and James McAuley, author of House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France (both just published by Yale University Press) will talk about their new books in conversation with art dealer René Gimpel, whose grandfather owned one of the most important art galleries in pre-war Paris and Richard Aronowitz, European Head of Restitution, Sotheby’s London.

This event is held in partnership with the AJR and Yale University Press, and will be chaired by Sue Grayson Ford, curator of Brave New Visions: The Emigrés who Transformed the British Art World.


On Thursday 18 March at 2pm, Anita Peleg, daughter of sculptor Naomi Blake, will give a talk about her remarkable mother, who arrived in London in 1952, after surviving Auschwitz and contributing to the creation of the State of Israel. Seeking a new way to express herself and her experiences, she embarked on a long career in sculpture motivated by her desire to commemorate the past horrors of persecution and move toward the promotion of understanding and goodwill between people of different faiths and backgrounds.

The event will be chaired by Monica Bohm-Duchen, who has written about Naomi Blake, and is held in partnership with the AJR and Generation2Generation, of which Anita is a founding trustee.

On the same day at 6pm, there will be an event to mark the appearance of Henry Ripszam’s Habima Drawings, published by Baquis Books, which for the first time features drawings by the Hungarian-born artist Henry Ripszam of the Russian-Jewish Habima Theatre Company on their visit to London in 1930. Olga Levitan, chair of the Israeli Center for the Documentation of the Performing Arts at Tel Aviv University will be joined by Dr. Sean Elan-Gaston, Henry Ripszam’s great-great nephew, Robert Waterhouse, director of Baquis Books and Alan Ward, the book’s designer.

Image: bookcover (detail)


On Sunday 21 March at 5pm, there will be a screening of the beautifully-crafted and thought-provoking documentary Mendelssohn, the Nazis and Mefollowed by a discussion and Q&A with its director Sheila Hayman (a direct descendant of the composer), Erik Levi, Academic Director of the International Centre for Suppressed Music at Royal Holloway, University of London and author of Music in the Third Reich (1994) and music journalist and novelist Jessica Duchen.

On Monday 22 March at 6pm, tribute will be paid to the late stained glass artist Rosalind Grimshaw (1945-2020) by her partner Patrick Costeloe and her close friend, painter Angela Baum. The daughter of a German-Jewish refugee, who fought chronic illness to become a leading practitioner in the field, she is best-known for the stunning Creation window she designed for Chester Cathedral. However, she also produced a number of powerful works on Jewish and Holocaust themes.

Image: Rosalind Grimshaw, Creation window, Chester Cathedral


And at 8pm on the same day, there will be an event to mark the appearance of George Mayer-Marton’s Murals & Mosaics. As part of the campaign to save George Mayer-Marton’s Crucifixion mural in an abandoned Catholic church in Oldham, Baquis Press is publishing an appraisal of its unique qualities and other works by this Hungarian-Jewish artist by Clare Willsdon, Professor of the History of Western Art at the University of Glasgow. Mayer-Marton’s distinctive technique is described by Gordon Millar, who assisted the artist in creating the murals during the 1950s. The third contributor to the book, Nick Braithwaite, Mayer-Marton’s great-nephew, will lead the discussion.

Image: George Mayer-Marton, Crucifixion, Church of the Holy Rosary, Oldham


On Tuesday 23 March at 8pm, to mark the publication on 18 March of her long-awaited memoirs, Invisible Walls, pioneering journalist Hella Pick, who came to the UK from Austria in 1939, will be in conversation with journalist Anne McElvoy. The book tells the dramatic story of how a Kindertransport survivor won the trust and sometimes the friendship of world leaders, and with them a wide range of remarkable men and women. But it also speaks frankly of personal heartache and of a struggle over her Jewish identity and of how, despite a gift for friendship and international recognition as a woman journalist, a continuing sense of insecurity has confronted her with a series of invisible walls.

Image: Invisible Walls, bookcover (detail)


On Wednesday 24 March at 6pm, to mark the centenary of the artist’s birth, art historian Ines Schlenker, author of Milein Cosman: Capturing Time, will give a talk about German-born artist Milein Cosman (1921-2017), who came to the UK in 1939 and soon established herself as one of this country’s most fluent and prolific draughtswomen. This will be followed by a shorter talk by Richard Martin, Visual Arts Curator at the Royal College of Music, about the RCM’s recent acquisition and digitisation of over 1300 of Cosman’s drawings of musicians.

This is event is held in partnership with the AJR.


And finally, on Thursday 25 March at 6pm, award-winning British photographic artist, curator, commentator on photography and author Emma Blauwill be in conversation with New York based photography consultant Julie Grahame about her grandfather, Berlin-born photographer Tom Blau and the influential photographic agency Camera Press he founded in the late 1940s, and which remains family-owned to this day.

This event is held in partnership with Four Corners and the AJR.

Image: Robert Kennedy photographed by Tom Blau in the Attorney-General’s’ office, Washington, USA, 1962. © Tom Blau / Camera Press


Details of all the above events and booking links can also be found in the What’s On section of the Insiders/Outsiders website.


Looking Ahead

On 8 April at 6pm, to mark the centenary of the birth of Czech-born sculptor Franta Belsky, who settled in the UK in 1948, Insiders/Outsiders, in partnership with the Czech Embassy and Stephenson art, will host a talk by Rosamund Lily West to pay tribute to Belsky and his sculptor wife Irena Sedlecká, who died in August 2020.



Other Relevant Events:

On Thursday 4 March at 3pm, join the Director of the Warburg Institute, Professor Bill Sherman, and archivist Claudia Wedepohl, in this exclusive showcase of the final and most unconventional project of Warburg’s lifetime. This Virtual Private View will bring together two exhibitions of Aby Warburg’s legendary Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, revealing Warburg’s revolutionary understanding of art and cultural theory.

Image: © The Warburg Institute


Jewish Book Week 2021 will take place online between 27 February and 7 March. Events of particular relevance to Insiders/Outsiders include the following:
Sunday 28 February: ‘Rescuing Jewish Culture’ + ‘Tom Stoppard: A Life’ with Hermione Lee
Monday 1 March: ‘The Lives of Lucian Freud’, with its author William Feaver and art critic Marina Vaizey
Wednesday 3 March: ‘Knowledge Under Attack’ with Richard Ovenden, author of Burning the Books.


Between 9 and 11 March, a major academic conference entitled The Second and Third Generation: Experiences of the Descendants of Refugees from National Socialism (the Triennial Conference of the Research Centre for German & Austrian Exile Studies, University of London) will take place online.



Lastly, please note that recordings of the online events held in February are now available on the Insiders/Outsiders YouTube channel

Aleksander Żyw – unfortunately, there was a problem recording the talk on 8 February. However, a shorter version of the talk by his grandson Tommy Żyw can be heard here.
Sophie HerxheimerSophie Herxheimer’s Velkom to Inklandt: Poems in my grandmother’s Inklisch
Kathe Deutsch
Eric Doitch, Alice Mary Fitzpayne and their Circle


Insiders/Outsiders YouTube Channel


As will be evident from the three programmes of free online events we’ve already organized, we are determined that the Insiders/Outsiders Festival should have a rich afterlife. But we need your help. So please consider making a donation to the Insiders/Outsiders Arts Foundation (registered charity number 1182867) to enable us to continue with our (entirely not-for-profit) activities.


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