Art-Exit: 1939 A Very Different Europe

Ben Uri Gallery's exhibition at the 12 Star Gallery


Wednesday 17 July - Wednesday 11 September 2019


12 Star Gallery

Europe House

32 Smith Square

London SW1P 3EU



1939 saw a very different Europe and this exhibition shines a spotlight on the forced journeys of many of central Europe’s most distinguished, talented and pioneering artists, who escaped tyranny in search of artistic and personal freedoms.

The exhibition features émigrés from European countries including Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Russia by artists including Jankel Adler, Frank Auerbach, Martin Bloch, Marc Chagall, Hans Feibusch, Eva Frankfurther, Lucian Freud, Henryk Gotlib, George Grosz, Josef Herman, Oskar Kokoschka, Heinz Koppel, Else Meidner, Ludwig Meidner, Kurt Schwitters, Chaïm Soutine, Elisabeth Tomalin, Feliks Topolski and Harry Weinberger. The majority of works are drawn from the Ben Uri Collection, complemented by a small number of works from private collections.

September 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World. ‘ART-EXIT’ is a vivid reminder of the violence, devastation, economic and social chaos that can so easily be caused by super-nationalism subsuming proud-patriotism. As Europe as a whole experiences a growing nationalist momentum, these artists, their works and forced journeys, followed by new lives and significant contributions as immigrants in their new homelands, all have fascinating, important and relevant stories to tell.


Art: Refugees by Josef Herman, part of Ben Uri collection, copyright Josef Herman estate.

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