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Aid to Russia

  • Name (text):
    Aid to Russia

    Word Count: 3

  • Kind of Event:
    Exhibition
  • Start Date:
    05-06-1942
  • End Date:
    21-06-1942
  • Introduction:

    The Aid to Russia exhibition was organised in 1942 by the emigré architect Ernö Goldfinger and his wife, the painter Ursula Goldfinger, at their house in Hampstead.

    Word Count: 26

  • Content:

    The Aid to Russia exhibition was organised in 1942 by the emigré architect Ernö Goldfinger and his wife, the painter Ursula Goldfinger, at their private London house at 2 Willow Road in Hampstead. It was inaugurated on 5 June and was open to the public until  21 June. Aid to Russia, which featured 70 works by contemporary artists, attracted over 1,700 visitors, with the generous opening hours of 3 to 9 p.m. on workdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays undoubtedly contributing to its success. Posters in Underground stations and shops were also used to promote the exhibition.

    The 1942 signing of an Anglo-Soviet treaty cementing the political alliance between the UK and the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany contributed to increasing the British public's solidarity with its wartime ally. Reports of the fighting on the Eastern front also played a role in garnering public sympathy. Contemporary artists were invited to contribute two works each to the exhibition and in return were guaranteed 50% of the sales price, the remainder to be donated to the “Aid to Russia” fund. Admission cost one shilling and, arranged on the walls of the Goldfingers’ modernist townhouse, were works by Hans Arp, Max Ernst, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Kurt Schwitters and others. A 1937 work by Pablo Picasso, La Niçoise (known today as the portrait of Nusch Éluard) was among the works on display. It had been loaned by Hugh Willoughby; not all works were for sale. The Goldfinger House in Hampstead thus became a focus of solidarity with Russia and the expression of antifascist sentiments. At the same time, modernist art was promoted, and the usual boundary between private and public space dissolved. This was noted in a letter by a visitor to the exhibition: “The clear light, the spaciousness and subtle simplicity of your delightful rooms gave an atmosphere more conducive to 'art appreciation’ than the usual run of shows. I feel that we should aim more at this method of picture showing.” Eighteen works were sold at the exhibition, and the Goldfingers themselves purchased a few works, among them Henry Moore’s sculpture Head (1937).

    Ernö and Ursula Goldfinger had been collecting art since their time in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, purchasing many pieces from their circle of friends and acquaintances or receiving them as gifts. Artists who were part of the private and professional networks of the couple included Man Ray, Max Ernst and Amédée Ozenfant; Ursula Goldfinger had studied under the latter. With the matter-of-fact presence of modern art in their private home, the Goldfingers were promoting the art of their time. Moreover, this art was understood as an integral component of the interior architecture conception, as evidenced for example by the large display frame installed in the living room, which enabled alternating objects, pictures and books to be put on show. At the 1942 Aid to Russia exhibition, it was the aforementioned work by Picasso that was featured in this frame.

    Word Count: 490

  • Signature Image:
    Aid to Russia exhibition at 2 Willow Road, 1942, with Pablo Picasso’s La Niçoise, 1937 – today known as the portrait of Nusch Eluard. On the right: Nancy Cunard (Archive 2 Willow Road, National Trust Collections. With kind permission of the Goldfinger Family. © Ernö Goldfinger).
  • Media:
    Goldfinger House, 2 Willow Road, London Hampstead, site of the Aid for Russia exhibition, 1942 (Photo: Mareike Hetschold/Sonja Hull, 2017).
    Ernö Goldfinger, 2 Willow Road, Hampstead, 1939, interior, dining room, photo: Dell & Wainwright (Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections, RIBA8557). The flexible floor plan by means of mobile walls allowed variable use of space for social occasions but also for exhibitions such as Aid to Russia in 1942.
    Catalogue of the Aid to Russia exhibition, 1942 (Archive 2 Willow Road, National Trust Collections. With kind permission of the Goldfinger Family. © Ernö Goldfinger).
    Aid to Russia exhibition in 2 Willow Road, 1942, Opening (Archive 2 Willow Road, National Trust Collections. With kind permission of the Goldfinger Family. © Ernö Goldfinger).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Anonymous. “Pictures in Aid for Russia.” The Manchester Guardian, 8 June 1942, p. 4.

    Gordon, Jan. “Art and Artists.” The Observer, 7 June 1942, p. 2.

    Parkin, Michela. “The Goldfinger Collection. Hampstead’s Modernist heritage.” Apollo, 141/398, April 1995, pp. 45–49.

    Pezzini, Barbara. “‘For an appreciation of art and architecture’. The Goldfinger Collection at 2 Willow Road.” Apollo, 153/470, 2001, pp. 55–59.

    Warburton, Nigel. Ernö Goldfinger. The Life of an Architect. Routledge, 2003.

    Word Count: 59

  • Archives and Sources:

    Archive 2 Willow Road, National Trust Collections, London.

    Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections.

    Word Count: 12

  • Acknowledgements:

    My deepest thanks go to the Archive 2 Willow Road, National Trust Collections and the Goldfinger family for giving me permission to reproduce the images of the Aid to Russia exhibition.

    Word Count: 30

  • Author:
    Burcu Dogramaci
  • Participants (selection):

    Hans Arp, Max Ernst, Barbara Hepworth, Paul Klee, Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Kurt Schwitters.

    Word Count: 18

  • Exhibited Objects:

    Barbara Hepworth, Single Form, 1937; Henry Moore, Head, 1937; Roland Penrose, Orchestra, 1940; Pablo Picasso, La Niçoise, 1937; Kurt Schwitters, Blue and Gold, 1942.

    Word Count: 20

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    2 Willow Road, Hampstead, London.

  • Metropolis:
    London
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Aid to Russia." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/1470/object/5141-7568505, last modified: 27-04-2021.
  • Edith Tudor-Hart
    Photographer

    The Viennese photographer Edith Tudor-Hart emigrated to England in 1933 and made a name with her photographs focusing on questions of class, social exclusion and the lives of marginalised people.

    Word Count: 29

    Edith Tudor-Hart took a series of photographs of the construction and opening of Lawn Road Flats in 1934 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).
    Edith Tudor-Hart, Lawn Road Flats’ Christmas card, 1934, cover (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).Edith Tudor-Hart, Lawn Road Flats’ Christmas card, 1934, inside (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).Edith Tudor-Hart, Gee Street, Finsbury, London, c. 1936, in Wal Hannington’s The Problem of the Distressed Areas, Left Book Club Edition, 1937, pl. 23 (© The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).Lilliput, vol. 4, 1939, p. 426: “Should we have this? A beauty parlour for dogs”, photo: Edith Tudor-Hart, c. 1937 and p. 427: “Must we have this? A London slum”, photo: Edith Tudor-Hart, c. 1936 (© The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).Margery Spring Rice. Working-Class Wives. Their Health and Conditions. Penguin Press, 1939, cover with photograph by Edith Tudor-Hart (© The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).Margery Spring Rice. Working-Class Wives. Their Health and Conditions. Penguin Press, 1939, pl. 2–4: photographs by Edith Tudor-Hart (© The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).
    London
    Anna Freud
    Psychoanalyst

    The psychoanalyst Anna Freud and her partner Dorothy Burlingham-Tiffany opened the War Nursery research and care facility in Hampstead in January 1941 under the impact of the bombing of London.

    Word Count: 29

    Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham, Jackson Nursery, Vienna, 1937 (© Freud Museum London).
    Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud. Annual Report of a Residential War Nursery. Hampstead Nursery, 1942, title page (Photo: Private Archive).Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud. Annual Report of a Residential War Nursery. Hampstead Nursery, 1942 (Photo: Private Archive). Page with addresses of Hampstead Nursery.Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud. Kriegskinder. Jahresbericht des Kriegskinderheims Hampstead Nurseries. Imago Publishing, 1949, cover (Photo: Private Archive). German version of Annual Report of a Residential War Nursery from 1942.Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham, Cork, 1949 (© Freud Museum London).Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud. Anstaltskinder. Imago Publishing, 1950, title page (Photo: Private Archive). German version of Infants without Families, 1943.Installation view from the Freud Museum London: Anna Freud at her loom, Walberswick, Suffolk, c. 1960s, Weaving Shuttles of Anna Freud, Crocheted scarf made by Anna Freud (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018. Courtesy of the Freud Museum London).Freud House at Maresfield Gardens (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    London
    Kurt Schwitters
    ArtistPoet

    The artist and poet Kurt Schwitters lived in London between 1941 and 1945, where he stood in contact to émigré and local artists, before moving to the Lake District.

    Word Count: 27

    In 1933 Herbert Read reproduced Kurt Schwitters’s Grey-rose picture assemblage (1932) in his book Art Now. An Introduction to the Theory of Modern Painting and Sculpture (METROMOD Archive).
    Kurt Schwitters, Red Wire Sculpture, 1944, Metal, plaster, stone, ceramics, dried fruit, wood, painted (Tate Collection, T05767, Photo © Tate, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)).Kurt Schwitters’s London address book, undated [1941/1945] (Sprengel Museum Hannover, Kurt Schwitters Archiv, Hannover, Leihgabe Kurt und Ernst Schwitters Stiftung, Hannover). On the right is the address of Abbo’s studio at Lambolle Road and a reference to the Abbo family in Sussex.Letter [draft?] from Kurt Schwitters to Jussuf Abbo, London, 23 December 1941 (Sprengel Museum Hannover, Kurt Schwitters Archiv, Hannover, Leihgabe Kurt und Ernst Schwitters Stiftung, Hannover). Schwitters writes: “I found you in the exhibition of the German League of Culture and am glad to have you in London. You remember our meetings in Berlin and at the Hanoversche Secession. I come from Norway, where I have been resident for 11 years. When and where can I see you one day?”Leaflet advertising the December exhibition held at the Modern Art Gallery on Masterpieces by Great Masters, also featuring Paintings and Sculptures by Kurt Schwitters, Modern Art Gallery Ltd., 1944 (Tate Archive, TGA 9510/4/8/1, Photo © Tate, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)).
    London
    Golders Green Crematorium
    Crematorium

    Numerous emigrants were cremated in Golders Green Crematorium after their death, including the gallerist Alfred Flechtheim, the psychoanalyst Anna Freud, the architect Ernö Goldfinger and the art historian Rosa Schapire.

    Word Count: 30

    Golders Green Crematorium, Hoop Lane, London, 2011 (Mark Ahsmann, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons).
    Urns with the ashes of Sigmund and Martha Freud and other family members, Ernest George Columbarium, part of Golders Green Crematorium (JHvW, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons).
    London