ADLER , Jankel

Jankel Adler  Polish 1895-1949

Jankel Adler was born in Poland 1895 to Jewish parents. He did an apprenticeship in engraving in 1912 and in 1913 moved to Germany, where he studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule during World War I. In 1918 he came into contact with Das Junge Rheinland, a group of artists based in Dusseldorf. In the same year he visited Poland, where he was one of the founders of the Ing Idisz (Young Yiddish) group, an association of painters and writers in Lodz dedicated to the expression of their Jewish identity. The few surviving works produced by Adler during this period, all in an Expressionist style.

Adler returned to Düsseldorf, where he remained in contact with the Junge Rheinland group. He played a major role in the Rheinische Sezession, joined the Rheingruppe and the Gruppe Progressiver Künstler in Cologne and in 1922 helped organise a congress of the Union of Progressive International Artists. From 1922 to 1933 he participated in major German and international exhibitions of progressive art.

At the height of his success, Adler was forced to leave Germany in 1933. The Nazis removed his paintings from German museums and his name  appeared on the lists of ‘degenerate art’. Adler settled in France in 1934. In 1939 he joined the Polish Army but later he was dismissed due to bad health. Adler briefly settled in Glasgow, it was there where he met  the young painters Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde. He settled permanently in London in 1943, taking an active role in the circle of European refugee artists and also making contact with British painters and poets. In the 1940’s Adler began exhibiting in London, Paris & New York. His first London Solo show was at the Redfern gallery in 1943.

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