Street scene, Ystradgynlais
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 42 x 50.9 cm
Inscription: Signed and dated verso 'Josef Herman 1945'
In 1944, when Herman visited the tiny mining town of Ystradgynlais in South Wales, he was drawn to the close-knit community, which, much like his own had its own language, customs and culture. He made his home there for the next eleven years and his dignified studies of miners and other working people made his reputation as a painter. Although shrouded in darkness, this street scene, studded with jewels of colour, exudes tranquillity. The working man standing by the door marks the moment when work ceases and the tired labourers wander home at the end of the day.
Josef Herman was born in Poland in 1911, the son of a cobbler, and grew up in a mainly Jewish working-class area of Warsaw. Forced to emigrate in 1938, he travelled through Belgium and then France before settling in Britain in 1940. His entire family was killed in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.
Born: 1911 Warsaw, Poland
Died: 2000 London, England