Ben Uri collection

The Restaurant

Artist information

Name Frederick Feigl (1884-1965)

Other name Friedrich, Bedrich

Born Prague, Bohemia (Czech Republic)

Died London, England

Find more work in the collection by this artist

Painter Frederick (Bedrich, Friedrich, Fritz) Feigl was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia - the many versions of his first name underlining his trajectory as an emigre through many different countries. He studied briefly at the Academy of Arts in Prague, at the Antwerp Academy (1904–5), and in Paris, afterwards living in Hamburg (1910) - establishing a significant reputation in Germany - and in Palestine (1932). He returned to Czechoslovakia in 1933 and settled in England in 1939. He exhibited at the Wertheim Gallery (1940) and Czechoslovak Institute, London (1944), but although he spent almost half his life in Britain, he exhibited most often frequently within emigre circles and with Ben Uri (1959 and 1964), where he was also a member of the Arts Committee during the 1950s.

Object Details

Object type painting

Medium gouache on paper

Materials and techniques gouache (medium) paper (support)

Unframed 35 x 50.5 cm

Framed 48 x 65.5 cm

Signed signed, bottom right: Feigl

Acquisition purchased

Accession number 1987-95

Display status not on display

Feigl returned repeatedly to the motif of coffee houses and restaurants, recalling the 'kaffe haus' culture of his Prague and Berlin years, and his many earlier works on the subject. In London émigrés like Feigl attempted to recreate this continental atmosphere at their social gatherings - perhaps also to escape their cramped lodgings - particularly at the renowned West Hampstead Cosmo restaurant, where one could “spend all day reading […] over a single cup of coffee or consuming Schnitzel and Strudel with fellow refugees”. In his published writings, J. P. Hodin, with whom Feigl was by this time already close, promoted the intangible benefits of this café society, while also pointing out the scarcity of such spaces in London: “[…] most of the modern principles in art and literature have been worked out over a sociable glass of wine or cup of coffee – in Paris, in Vienna, in Prague. But where does one meet these people in London?”

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© Frederick Feigl estate