Rothenstein’s Relevance

Ben Uri Past Exhibition

Sir William Rothenstein and his Circle

11 September 2015 – 17 January 2016

Exhibition curated in partnership with Cartwright Hall, Bradford Museums and Galleries, examining the work of Sir William Rothenstein and his circle, including Barnett Freedman, Mark Gertler, Jacob Kramer, Albert Rutherston, Alfred Wolmark amongst others.

rothenstein reading book of esther
William Rothenstein Reading the Book of Esther

Influential figure

Ben Uri’s first exhibition on this hugely influential figure was a partial tour of the Bradford exhibition From Bradford to Benares: the art of Sir William Rothenstein (7 March – 12 July 2015), reconfigured for this London showing. It comprised approximately 40 works including paintings, works on paper and archival material and aimed to re-examine the significance, influence and continuing importance of Rothenstein’s artistic achievements.


The exhibition examined major themes from Rothenstein’s career including Jewish subjects, portraiture and figure studies (in Paris, London and Gloucestershire) and the First and Second World Wars. These were contextualised by work on similar themes by a number of mostly younger contemporaries including Barnett Freedman, Mark Gertler, Eric Kennington, Jacob Kramer, Albert Rutherston and Alfred Wolmark, who were all either influenced directly by, or worked alongside, Rothenstein.

The works

The majority of works came from Bradford’s own collection, together with selected loans from the Arts Council, Gallery Oldham, Leeds City Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, Museums Sheffield and Tate Britain, as well as works from Ben Uri’s own collection and a number of private collections.

William Rothenstein exhibition