Mark Gertler (1891-1939)

Artist Mark Gertler was born in 1891 in the East End of London. A contemporary of artist David Bomberg, Gertler was trained at the Slade School of Art where he met the painter Dora Carrington and was associated for many years with members of the Bloombury group. Mark Gertler died in 1939.

Find out more about Mark Gertler

Rabbi and Rabbitzin (1914)

Work by Mark Gertler in the Ben Uri Collection


Nude Study

Portrait of a Girl (Sophie, the artist’s sister)

Portrait of a Man

Portrait of a Man with a Bow Tie

Rabbi and Rabbitzin

Still Life with a Bottle of Benedictine

Still Life with Guitar

Still Life, Dahlias and Daisies in a Blue Vase

Still Life, Vase with Flowers

Still Life, Winter Cherries

Mark Gertler and the Ben Uri

Artist Mark Gertler, born and raised in Spitalfields, East London, was already a recognised talent in 1914-15, while only a few streets away the founding fathers of the Ben Uri were planning their vision of a Whitechapel Arts Society.

Works by Gertler, along with those by fellow Whitechapel Boys David Bomberg, Bernard Meninsky and Jacob Kramer form an important part of the permanent collection.

Rabbi and Rabbitzin

In Rabbi and Rabbitzin, 1914, a seminal work, Gertler successfully draws together many of the more disparate elements of Post-Impressionism.

The cup, teapot, table and dresser, which are all seen from different viewpoints, show an awareness of Cezanne which was to alienate Gertler from his Slade contemporary Stanley Spencer.

However, the real significance of the picture lies in the relationship between the two figures – the man and wife standing together with arms yoked against the world.

The focus is on their eyes and hands – note the size of the hands – and there is humour too in the way the warm, organic forms of the still life objects reflect their human counterparts: the teapot and the rabbi’s hat echoing his rounded stomach, the uncut loaf piled up like the rabbitzin’s hair.

It was also extremely unusual to depict the rabbitzin, but for Gertler the importance of the female, particularly in the domestic world, remained central.

Sarah MacDougall, Ben Uri curator and biographer of Mark Gertler.