Ben Uri collection

Two Oxen and Man in Yellow Hat, Stooping

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 1964

Object type drawing

Medium watercolour

Materials and techniques pencil | watercolour (medium) drawing (technique) paper (support)

Acquisition Presented 2018

Accession number 2018-23

Display status not on display

This rural scene was created towards the end of Gotlib's life. In an essay of 1957, the artist stated that he had 'painted cows and trees, nudes and angels, apples and skies all my life and still I am not sure of their material reality. The only thing I am sure of is the reality of colour'.

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