Barnett Freedman (1901 - 1958)

The Stanhope Street Group, 1926

SKU: 8707
Oil on canvas

Size:
Height – 50.8cm
Width – 101.8cm

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s Family
Presentation:
framed
Exhibitied:
Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, English Artist Designers 1922 ‚1942, Towner Art Gallery, May-September 2017; Barnett Freedman, Designs for Modern Britain, Pallant House Gallery, 2020.
literature:
Mason, Emma, Barnett Freedman, Designs for Modern Britain, Pallant House Gallery, 2020, p.17. Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.182.

Freedman married fellow student Claudia Guercio in 1926 in a match initially kept secret from her disapproving parents. They 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’.

The scene depicted is probably a rehearsal, possibly for a play that Freedman, directing proceedings at the left, was intending to produce.

At the time Freedman greatly admired the East End dramatist Israel Zangwill and Freedman’s obituary cited involvement in productions at the Little, Fortune and Scala theatres.

From various surviving studies several figures have been identified as RCA contemporaries. Roy Keevil is  the figure coming through the door. Barnett Freedman has his back to the viewer with a violin at his feet,  Frank Barber, an impecunious artist who Ravilious tried to obtain a commission for, but who later committed suicide, is at the piano.  Francis Spear is most likely the figure seated at the foot of the easel; the older figure seated on the floor behind is llikely to be William Rothenstein or Robert Buhler;  Alan Sorrell is portrayed full length, looking back to the viewer, Charles Mahoney is seated on the table, probably with Percy Horton seated next to him, leg raised, and G.K. Branson. Gerald Ososki is seated on the stool, with Hugh Finney to his left..  Possible candidates for the unidentified figure, (lounging across the two stools in the foreground), are Donald Towner, Athol Hay and  Albert Houthuesen.

The Stanhope Street Group makes an interesting pre-war pendant to Moynihan’s celebrated group portrait of the Royal College of Art staff, (Portrait Group) from 1951.  Mahoney is the only artist to feature in both paintings. 

We are grateful to David Bratton, Andy Friend, Neil Jennings and Simon Lawrence  for assistance.

 

Studies for The Stanhope Street Group

Barnett Freedman(British 1901 – 1958),Frank Barber


Barnett Freedman(British 1901 – 1958), Portrait of Gerald Ososki, signed and dated Barnett Freedman 1926; inscribed on the reverse For the Stanhope Street Group, drawn at Stanhope Street 1926/pen, ink and wash, 29cm x 24cm (11” x 9”), private collection.

 

Barnett Freedman(British 1901 – 1958), Hugh Finney

 

Robert Buhler by Barnett Freedman

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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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Trial proof for People, 1947
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The Window Box, 1954
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Four Men – Street Players, circa 1926
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The Artist’s Wife, Claudia (née Guercio) at Stanhope Street, c.1926
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Sketch for Portrait of Young Man, mid-1920s
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East end of London, night time street scene, late 1920’s
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The artist studio with life model, figure in doorway and artist at work, mid 1920’s
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God save our Queen, 1953
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Portrait of Claudia Guercino, the Artist’s Future Wife
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Man sweeping outside terraced house, circa 1926
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Study for Stanhope Street group, circa 1926
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Study for the Stanhope Street group, circa 1926
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Early study for the Stanhope Street Group, c.1926
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Study for Street Scene, circa 1933
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Study for Charade, circa 1936
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Streamers and Heads, Drawing for Festival Poster, 1951
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Couple in a restaurant, mid 1920’s
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Design for ‘The King’s Stamp’, November 1935.
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15-inch Gun Turret, HMS Repulse, 1941
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