Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Barnett Freedman (1901-1958)   BIOGRAPHY

15-inch Gun Turret, HMS Repulse, 1941
Unmounted (ref: 7952)
Proof lithograph before final legend
30 x 40 in. (76.3 x 101.3 cm)


Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 19.

Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 19, page 56-57.

Original lithographic poster printed for the National Gallery.
Barnett Freedman was one of the first artists to be commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee at the start of WW2. 
He was posted to France staying on as long as possible before being evacuated. 
He was to return in 1944 to record the setting up of operational harbours in Normandy. In between, his interest was in recording operational methods and he was commissioned to work for the Admiralty, and specifically on HMS Repulse, in July 1941. On 10 December the same year Japanese aircraft attacked and sank the Repulse and the battleship HMS Prince of Wales off the coast of Malaya, with the loss of 840 lives.

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.

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