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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission


From Émigré to Englishman: Fred Uhlman, ‘Painter of Dreams’ Lecture

Event details
Calendar   Speaking Engagements
Location Zoom
Date Wed, Sep 13, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Duration   1h

Please join the Fritz Ascher Society on online on Wednesday, September 13 at 11:00AM CT on Zoom for “From Émigré to Englishman: Fred Uhlman ‘Painter of Dreams’,” a talk by London based Uhlman scholar Dr. Nicola Baird.

Fred Uhlman (Stuttgart 1901-1985 London) was born into a well-established Jewish family. He became a lawyer, joined the Social Democrat Party in 1927 and became its official legal representative in 1932. In March 1933, after a warning that his arrest was imminent because of his political affiliations, he fled to Paris. There, unable to work as a lawyer he began to paint, encouraged by his cousin, Paul Elsas, who was himself a painter, and German émigré art historian, Paul Westheim, who championed individualism. He became known for his ‘pictorial fantasies’ and ‘poetic’, ‘childlike vision.’ In 1936, Uhlman was able to immigrate to Britain. Two years later he and his wife Diana, née Croft, co-founded the Artists’ Refugee Committee and the Free German League of Culture. After the outbreak of the Second World War, in 1940, he was considered an enemy alien and interned by the British government in Hutchinson Camp on the Island of Man. After 1945, his artwork became internationally known. A large-scale exhibition of his work was last held at the Leighton House Museum in London in 1968 and he has since been largely forgotten. Uhlman is the author of The Making of an Englishman, 1960 and the enduringly popular novella, Reunion, 1971 (adapted for film by Harold Pinter in 1989 and for stage by Ronan Wilmot in 2010).

Register here.

Dr Nicola Baird is an independent researcher, writer and curator affiliated with the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, London South Bank University. In 2018 she curated the retrospective ‘The Making of an Englishman’: Fred Uhlman, a Retrospective at Burgh House, London and the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle and edited the accompanying publication. She also curated the exhibitions Czech Routes to Britain: Selected Czechoslovak Artists in Britain from the Ben Uri and Private Collections (Ben Uri Gallery, 2019), an exhibition of the early work of Gustav Metzger, a German Jewish artist and activist born to Polish parents (Ben Uri Gallery, 2021), and Knots: Jonny Briggs x Burgh House: Contemporary Interventions into an Historic House (Burgh House, 2021-22). She is a contributor to the International Yearbook of Futurism Studies, the Journal of Avant-Garde Studies and the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies and has spoken at conferences in the UK, Belgium, Czech Republic, Portugal and New Zealand.

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