The first museum exhibition of Jankel Adler’s works in Britain since the Arts Council memorial show in 1951 will open in London on 3 June. It is presented on the seventieth anniversary of his death, co-curated by Rachel Dickson and Sarah MacDougall of the Ben Uri Research Unit for the Study of the Jewish and Immigrant Contribution to the Visual Arts in Britain since 1900 (BURU).
Born into a Jewish family in Łódź, Poland, in 1895, Adler was a key participant in the development of 20th-century European modern and avant-garde art. Known to German and Polish authorities as an active ‘cultural Bolshevist’, he was branded by the Nazis as a ‘degenerate’ artist. Adler’s work was included in the infamous 1937 Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition in Munich. Like Paul Klee, he fled Germany in 1933. In Paris, Adler joined Atelier 17 under the tutelage of Stanley William Hayter and met and befriended Picasso. Adler’s relationships with Klee and Picasso were pivotal; both considered him a driving force of modernism. Between 1943 and his death in 1949, Adler was exhibited in London at the Redfern Gallery, Gimpel Fils and the Anglo-French Centre, as well as in the Waddington Galleries, Dublin; Galerie de France, Paris; Bezalel Museum, Jerusalem; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and the Knoedler Galleries, New York.
Ben Uri’s snapshot survey addresses Adler’s nine influential years in Britain with a range of paintings and works on paper which ably represent his diversity and creativity.
This exhibition follows an expansive survey at the Von Der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal, Germany last year, to which Ben Uri lent work and wrote extensively for the catalogue.
Ben Uri is honoured to include this exhibition as part of Insiders/Outsiders a year-long nationwide arts festival celebrating the indelible contribution of refugees from Nazi-dominated Europe to British culture.