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Josef Herman OBE RA

Born: 1911 - 2000

Josef Herman OBE RA

Born in Warsaw into a typical Eastern European Jewish working-class family, Herman worked as a commercial artist before turning seriously to painting and drawing. He left Poland in 1938 and fled to Glasgow via Belgium and France.

He settled for 10 years in a Welsh mining village, which was to become a very strong influence on his art.  He became known for his depictions of workers, ranging from Burgundian peasants to Suffolk fishermen. In 1951 he was commissioned to produce a mural for the Festival of Britain for the Pavilion of Minerals of the Island. This resulted in one of his major works, 'Miners'.

The depth of Herman's personality, is reflected in the subject matter in his work. He was a master of flower painting, was a memorable portraitist and had a passion for drawing trees and birds. His palette, always full of rich reds and blues became brighter in later years whether working in oils or mixed media.

An inventive draughtsman, he once said that 'drawing is the province of ideas' and was himself rarely without a provocative idea for a picture or discussion.

In 1951 he was commissioned to do a mural for the Festival of Britain exhibition. In 1962 he was awarded a gold medal for services to Welsh Art. In 1981 he was created OBE and in 1990 he was elected to the Royal Academy.

His work is widely collected by Museums around the world.


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