Catalogue accompanying the Ben Uri centenary exhibition held at Somerset House, London, in 2015. It features highlights from Ben Uri’s usually hidden collection, offering a unique visual survey of a century of intersection with ‘Art, Identity and Migration’.
It charts a fluid engagement with British and European art and the transition from traditionalism to modernism through artists including the pre-Raphaelite, Simeon Solomon; the first Jewish Royal Academicians, Solomon Hart and Solomon J Solomon; and the early colourist, Alfred Wolmark, the so-called father of the ‘Whitechapel Boys’. This group includes painters David Bomberg, Mark Gertler and Jacob Kramer, as well as (by association) the sculptor Jacob Epstein, First World War poet-painter, Isaac Rosenberg, and the only ‘Whitechapel Girl’ Clare Winsten, all of whom made a distinct contribution to early British modernism.
Women painters have long been strongly represented in the collection and include Lily Delissa Joseph, Amy Drucker, Clara Klinghoffer, Chana Kowalska and Irma Stern. The European context ranges from School of Paris masters Marc Chagall and Chaïm Soutine to those from Weimar Germany including Max Liebermann, Ludwig Meidner and Lesser Ury. George Grosz’s savage visual satire contrasts with works by refugee artists from the era of National Socialism, including Martin Bloch, Eva Frankfurther, Josef Herman and Arthur Segal.
The postwar era ranges from School of London masters, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff and R. B. Kitaj to printmaker, Michael Rothenstein RA, abstractionist Bernard Cohen, contemporary realist Daniel Quintero, photographer Dorothy Bohm and sculptor David Breuer-Weil. As Ben Uri moves into its second century, works are also included in a range of new media by contemporary international artists from the fields of film, photography and installation, completing this rare glimpse into a distinctive and visually-compelling world-class collection which simultaneously addresses ongoing issues of ‘Art, Identity and Migration’.