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Freedman, Barnett

(1901 – 1958)

Circus - Go By Underground, 1936

SKU: 10902

Two lithographs in colours, 1936, printed by Curwen Press.
(126 x 100 cm)

Size:
Height: 100cm
Width: 126cm

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s Studio

Literature: Mason, Emma, Barnett Freedman, Designs for Modern Britain, Pallant House Gallery, 2020, p. 99

The Curwen Press was founded in 1863 to print music. After Harold Curwen joined in 1908, it began to print high quality limited edition books and did much to advance the use of colour lithography. When Oliver Simon joined he used his contacts with the Royal College of Art to employ figures such as Paul Nash, Edward Bawden, and Barnett Freedman.

Circus is considered to be one of Freedman’s most successful large scale designs. It’s female counterpart is entitled Theatre.  Both were produced in a variety of sizes, as hand-bills and posters.

Circuses were a popular form of family entertainment in London, particularly in the 1930s. They were advertised on small panel posters inside Underground trains and occasionally on full size posters such as this. Composed of one design across two different sheets of paper, this is know as a ‘pair poster’, which were displayed in prime sites such as Underground station entrances.

 

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THE ARTIST

Freedman, Barnett

1901 – 1958

Illustrator, painter, printmaker and teacher, Freedman was born to Russian Jewish immigrants living in poverty in the East End of London. In 1916, he worked as draughtsman to a monumental mason, and at the same time took evening classes at St Martin’s School of Art. In 1922, he won a three-year scholarship to the Royal College of Art. In 1928, he joined the staff of the Royal College, and not long afterwards began to teach at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford. He soon became a pioneer in the revival of colour lithography. He was an Official War Artist in World War II. By the time of his death Freedman had established an enviable reputation as an illustrator and designer of posters, stamps, books and book-jackets. He believed that there was no such thing as commercial art, ‘only good art and bad art’. His first exhibition was held in 1929 at the Literary Bookshop, Bloomsbury. A memorial exhibition was organised by the Arts Council in 1958. Manchester Polytechnic, which holds the Freedman archive, held a major show in 1990. Examples of his work are in the collection of the Tate Gallery.

With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk

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