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Herman, Josef


HERMAN, JOSEF (1911–2000), painter. Born in Warsaw, he was the son of a cobbler. He left Poland for Brussels in 1938 and in 1940 escaped to Glasgow. From 1944 to 1953 he lived in the Welsh mining village of Ystradgynlais, and then settled in London. Herman brought from Poland a deep involvement in Jewish life and the Yiddish culture of East European Jewry. His earliest work was based on memories of Poland, deeply Jewish in sentiment and subject. But it was in Wales that he found his true style. He lived with the miners and in the Welshman's intensely religious and warm family life, he found a living substitute for the Jewish shtetl. In later years Herman painted in Israel, France, Spain, and Mexico, but his interest in men at work, and his heavy, profound, somber manner, relate directly to his Welsh experience.


B. Taylor, Josef Herman: Drawings (1956); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, Josef Herman: Paintings and Drawings, 194056 (1956), introd.; E. Mullins, Josef Herman: Paintings and Drawings (1967).

[Charles Samuel Spencer]

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