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On Display

Mark Gertler (1891-1939)

The Rabbi and his Grandchild

Gertler came from a family of Polish Jews who had settled in London in 1896. His childhood was marked by poverty but his artistic talent was recognised by William Rothenstein who got him a place at the Slade School of Art. Gertler established his reputation with a series of portraits that drew on his Jewish roots and reflected his interest in both Post-Impressionism and Renaissance art.

In 1913 Gertler was working on separate portraits of an old man and a young girl Dora Plaskowsky, the daughter of the family's butcher. Gertler was struck by the contrast between youth and age and between Dora's unusual colouring and the paleness of the Rabbi and decided to combine the two into a double portrait. The Rabbi and his Grandchild were in fact unrelated and never met.

Mediumoil on canvas
Dimensions508mm x 459mm
Acquisition NumberSOTAG : 1968/6
Credit LinePurchased in 1954 through the Chipperfield Bequest Fund