Barnett Freedman (1901 - 1958)

Portrait of Claudia Guercino, the Artist's Future Wife

£2,850.00

SKU: 9159
Signed, inscribed,  dated April 1926, and inscribed ‘To Mr. V. Guercio, From Barnet Freedman, London, April 1926’ Pencil, pen and ink, wash in its original wash mount, made by the artist.

Size:
Height – 54.6cm
Width – 37.5cm

1 in stock

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s family
Presentation:
mounted

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.185.

This portrait  – of  Claudia  Guercio;- was presented to the models  father around the time of her engagement to Freedman (in 1926 ) the year they married – their match initially was kept secret from her disapproving parents. Claudia and Barnett  lived in two rooms near the Euston Road, one of which Freedman used as a studio as he sought to combine theatrical activities with oil painting, remarking later I nearly starved’.

Claudia Guercio at her engagement to Barnett Freedman

Barnett Freedman is quite rightly held in the highest regard by those who are interested in such things. But his wife Claudia is almost forgotten. She was born Claudia Guercio in Formby, Liverpool, of Anglo-Sicilian parentage. She studied at Liverpool School of Art and the Royal College of Art. Working initially under her maiden name, she took the name Claudia Freedman on her marriage to Barnett Freedman in 1930. Compared to her husband, Claudia Freedman’s output was relatively small, but works such as the autolithographed book My Toy Cupboard (undated but published in the 1940s by Noel Carrington’s Transatlantic Arts) show that she had a talent equal to his.

We are grateful to Vince Freedman, the artist’s son, for his assistance and Neil Philip for the above text.

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THE ARTIST

Barnett Freedman
Barnett
Freedman
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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