Ben Uri collection

Sketch of Young Man

Artist information

Name Henryk Gotlib (1890-1966)

Born Cracow, Poland

Died Godstone, Surrey

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Born into a Jewish family in Cracow, Gotlib studied at the Cracow Academy of Art from 1908-10, continued his studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna (1911–13), then travelled widely in Italy, Greece and Spain. He developed an aesthetic affinity with various Polish avant-garde groups during the 1920s, before developing what he called the “vision thing”, with colour and form at the core of his art. He was greatly influenced by Rembrandt, and the European Expressionist painters.

Following several productive years in France, Gotlib arrived in London in April 1938, where he met his future wife, Janet. They married in France, spent time together in Poland, then, after returning to England on a short visit in June 1939, became trapped by the outbreak of war. Gotlib swiftly established himself in the British art world: a passionate and perceptive writer on art, he published 'Polish Painting' in 1942, participated in the same year in the 'Exhibition of Works of Polish and Czechoslovak Artists', at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and was also a member of the London Group. Between 1945 and 49, he held three solo exhibitions at the Roland Browse and Delbanco Gallery, writing to fellow émigré Henry Roland in 1947: “Bonnard paints atmosphere; I paint the thing itself.”

Object Details

Date 1942

Object type drawing

Medium crayon

Materials and techniques crayon (medium) drawing (technique) paper (support)

Unframed 16.6 x 15.4 cm

Framed 38.5 x 36.5 cm

Acquisition Presented 2018

Accession number 2018-22

Display status not on display

This portrait sketch dates from Gotlib's early years in England and was made in the same year as he published his volume on Polish painting.


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© The artist's estate