Josef Herman, OBE RA
Josef Herman was born in Warsaw, son of a cobbler. In l938 he left Poland and went first to Brussels where he was influenced by the Expressionist artist Permeke.
In 1940 he arrived in Britain and remained here for the rest of his life. For a time he lived in Glasgow and began to paint nostalgic images from his childhood, focusing on the heroic qualities of heavy labour.
These included paintings of miners, farm workers and fishermen. After three years he moved to the Swansea Valley in Wales where he produced a series of works of the mining community, he stayed there until 1955.
His first exhibition was held in Scotland in 1942, and his first exhibition in London was in 1943. He had one man exhibitions with Roland, Browse and Delbanco in London from 1946, and he travelled widely in Europe and Israel.
In 1951 he painted a mural for the Festival of Britain, and 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.
He is an immensely forceful draughtsman, using line and wash with great authority and control. His work is well represented in museums and galleries, including the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
There are also several publications on his work.