Mark Gertler 1891–1939

Mark Gertler, British painter,born in Britain, his parents were Polish Jews immigrants who eventually settled in London. In 1906 Mark Gertler began attending art classes at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London, however due to poverty he took up as an apprentice at Clayton & Bell, a stained glass company, attending art evening classes. In 1908 he won a prize in a national art competition. That autumn, on the advice of William Rothenstein, he entered the Slade School of Fine Art, where he was taught by Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer. His peers were Nevinson, Wadsworth, Spencer and Isaac Rosenburg. He won several prizes and scholarships and fell in love and became obsessed with Dora Carrington, who was also a student at the Slade.

Gertler was soon enjoying success as a painter of society portraits, but his devotion to advancing his work according to his own vision, led to the alienation of potential sitters and buyers. As a result, he struggled frequently with poverty.

In 1920, Mark Gertler contracted tuberculosis, which dogged him for the rest of his life. In 1930 Gertler married Marjorie Greatorex Hodgkinson, which resulted in the birth of a son, Luke Gertler, in 1932. During the 1930s he also became a part-time teacher at the Westminster School of Art in order to supplement his intermittent income from painting. The marriage was often difficult, anxious about his work and depressed at his lack of success, he took his own life in 1939.

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