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Hanover Gallery

  • The Hanover Gallery was founded by Erica Brausen and dedicated to interwar modernism and contemporary art, supporting the early careers of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Niki de Saint Phalle.
  • Hanover Gallery
  • Art Gallery
  • The Hanover Gallery was founded by Erica Brausen and dedicated to interwar modernism and contemporary art, supporting the early careers of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Niki de Saint Phalle.

    Word Count: 30

  • The Hanover Gallery was founded in 1947 by Erica Brausen (1908–1992) and was dedicated to contemporary art. Erica Brausen was born in Düsseldorf and went to Paris in 1930, where she stayed for some years, moving in the artistic milieu and cultivating acquaintanceships with painters such as Fernand Léger, the architect Ernö Goldfinger and the writer Raymond Queneau (Liaut 2013, 120). Through her friendship with the artist Joan Miró, Brausen arrived in Mallorca in 1935, where she ran a bar. In addition, after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, she became involved in helping opposition members to escape. At the end of the 1930s, together with a group around the Indian guru Meher Baba, she came to London, where she remained until her death (ibid., 121f.). She obtained a job at the Storran Gallery, formerly run by the Viennese émigré Ala Story (1907–1972), then taken over by the art critic Eardley Knollys - a friend of Pablo Picasso - and his partner, the artist Frank Coombs. Storran Gallery was initially located in Kensington at 106 Brompton Road, London SW3, opposite Harrods, then moved to 5 Albany Courtyard, Piccadilly. Storran Gallery, which existed until 1944, espoused an avant-garde programme with artists such as Graham Bell, Pablo Picasso and Christopher Wood, and an innovative exhibition practice: in 1938, Storran Gallery hosted The Jones Exhibition, showing London city scenes by British artists. 800 London families with the surname “Jones” received an invitation card by post for the opening (Taylor 1999, 276).
    After working for the Storran Gallery, Erica Brausen moved to St George’s Gallery, which had been opened in 1943 by the Viennese art collector and art dealer Lea Bondi Jaray (1880–1969). Brausen then worked at the Redfern Gallery (20 Cork Street, Mayfair, London W1). Brausen was thus socialised in an art context that introduced her to contemporary positions and unusual curatorial practices.  

    In 1946, Brausen acquired Francis Bacon’s Painting (1946), which she sold to the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1948. This sale established a long-standing professional relationship with Bacon and gave the British artist international visibility (Mock 1996, 4). At the end of 1947, Erica Brausen opened the Hanover Gallery with the financial support of the art collector Arthur Jeffress. Brausen took over the former rooms of St. George’s Gallery, which had meanwhile moved to Grosvenor Street, and named her gallery after nearby Hanover Square. Brausen dedicated her first exhibition to the work of Graham Sutherland in 1948, held in London during the summer of the Austerity Olympics, when an international audience was in town (Private Wire 1948; Hedley 2016).  Sutherland was one of the popular artists familiar to the London citizenry; in the 1930s he designed several posters for London Transport (Bownes/Green 2008, 164f.) and was the official war painter for the British government during the Second World War. The War Artists Advisory Committee ensured that the works went on tour to other English cities and were donated to museums such as the Tate. Erica Brausen thus relied on Graham Sutherland to establish her position and in return was able to support young artists and/or uncomfortable positions. Hanover Gallery strenuously promoted the early careers of artists such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud (he exhibited with her in 1950 and 1952), Marlow Moss (on view in 1953 and 1958) and Ian Stuart (exhibition in 1964).

    Francis Bacon’s first solo exhibition at the Hanover Gallery in November 1949 caused a sensation and was a success in terms of sales, but critics described that success as temporary and dubbed Bacon’s art as “Art for the Few”, meaning it appealed to a small group of intellectuals: “Bacon is certainly a talented painter of macabre originality, but his immediate success is probably due to the enthusiasm his work has aroused among the literary intelligentsia. I have not seen so many writers at an exhibition of painting for a long time.” (Pendennis 1949) Hanover Gallery held solo exhibitions of Bacon’s work almost annually. In 1959, the artist held his last exhibition with Erica Brausen and moved to Marlborough Fine Art, which had been founded in 1948 by the two Viennese emigrants Frank Lloyd (1911–1998) and Harry Fischer (1903–1977). Fischer had been Brausen’s colleague at Lea Bondy Jaray’s St. George’s Gallery.

    Particularly formative for Erica Brausen was her private partnership, from 1946, with the model Toto Koopman, who also supported the management of the gallery, maintained the card index of clients and guests, and oversaw the invitations and exhibition openings (Liaut 2013, 135). The two partners undertook joint studio and art trips to the European continent, for example to the Venice Biennale, in search of new artists for the gallery. Their shared flat was located at 26 Bolton Studios, Gilston Road, Chelsea from 1946. In 1959 Brausen and Koopman moved to 70 Eaton Place, Belgravia and had bronze furniture designed by Alberto and Diego Giacometti. They lived surrounded by works of classical modernism, including works by Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault and Joan Miró (ibid., 190).

    In her gallery, Erica Brausen represented a programme that straddled the interwar modernism rediscovered after 1945 and contemporary positions. Hanover Gallery showed exhibitions of Hans Hartung (1949), Paul Klee (1954 and 1956) and Marino Marini (1952 and 1956), helping to establish Brausen in the London art market – Klee’s 1956 solo exhibition was praised by The Guardian (Newton 1956). Erica Brausen represented modern sculptors such as Germain Richier, Hans Arp and Alberto Giacometti – the latter, for example, as a participant in the Post-Picasso Paris group exhibition (1957) and showed three modern classics in one exhibition in 1968: Marcel Duchamp, Picabia and Man Ray. At the same time, Erica Brausen consistently focused on lesser-known artists until the closure of her gallery: in 1964 and 1969, the Hanover Gallery showed works by the artist Niki de Saint Phalle, who was hardly known in London at the time. Fernando Botero was also shown by Brausen as early as 1970, early in his career.
    In 1962, together with the London gallery Gimpel Fils, she opened the Gimpel and Hanover Gallery in Zurich, which she continued to run when she closed her gallery space in the city on the Thames in 1973.

    Erica Brausen was one of the progressive gallery owners of the 1930s and 1940s in Europe who, through huge commitment and strategically planned exhibitions, helped contemporary art gain recognition. In addition to painting, an important emphasis was placed on sculpture: in group exhibitions such as Sculpture from 1959, Hanover Gallery not only brought together abstraction (Kemény) and figuration (Maillol) and artists of different generations. It also showed lesser-known sculptors such as César, Clatworthy and Marini in the context of established positions - Maillol, Matisse, Picasso. In this way, Brausen was able to draw the attention of collectors and critics to new artists and open a door to the London art market for them.
    Many of those who championed the art of their time were emigrants, including women such as Erica Brausen, Lea Bondy Jaray and Ala Story. This leads to the thesis that, on the one hand, the emigrants brought with them their diverse experiences with contemporary art in their places of origin and exile stations along the way. On the other hand, the as yet unrecognised terrain of contemporary art, less affected by competition from local art dealers, also offered opportunities for them to establish themselves in the art market and the art scene in London.

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  • 32a St. George’s Street, Hanover Square, London W1.

  • Sculpture, exh. cat. Hanover Gallery, London, 1959, cover (METROMOD Archive). The group exhibition presented established artists and works of a younger generation: Arp, César, Clatworthy, Effront, Kemény, Maillol, Marini, Picasso amongst others.
  • Sculpture, exh. cat. Hanover Gallery, London, 1959, title page (METROMOD Archive).
    Sculpture, exh. cat. Hanover Gallery, London, 1959, double page with works of Kemény (METROMOD Archive).
    Sculpture, exh. cat. Hanover Gallery, London, 1959, double page with works of Maillol (METROMOD Archive).
    Ian Stuart. Sculpture, exh. cat. Hanover Gallery, London, 1964, cover (METROMOD Archive).
    Ian Stuart. Sculpture, exh. cat. Hanover Gallery, London, 1964, title page (METROMOD Archive).
    Private Wire. “Our London Correspondence.” The Manchester Guardian, 9 June 1948, p. 4 (Photo: Private Archive). Article on the Hanover Gallery’s opening exhibition Graham Sutherland.
    Pendennis. “Table Talk.” The Observer, 13 November 1949, p. 5 (Photo: Private Archive). A critical review of Francis Bacon’s exhibition at Hanover Gallery 1949 under the headline “Art for the Few”.
    Review by Eric Newton on the Paul Klee exhibition at Hanover Gallery in The Manchester Guardian, 20 June 1956, p. 7 (Photo: Private Archive).
    Eric Newton. “Fantasy in Art: Bacon, Wols, and Felix Kelly.” The Guardian, 12 June 1959, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive). A review on Francis Bacon’s last exhibition at Hanover Gallery in 1959.
    Report on the art market in England with an entry on the Hanover Gallery (centre column) in the Swiss magazine Du, no. 10, 1959, p. 53 (Photo: Private Archive).
  • Anonymous. “Wer ist wer im Kunsthandel. England.” Du, vol. 19, no. 10, 1959, p. 53.

    Aronowitz, Richard, and Shauna Isaac. “Émigré Art Dealers and Collectors.” Insiders Outsiders. Refugees from Nazi Europe and their Contribution to British Visual Culture, edited by Monica Bohm-Duchen, Lund Humphries, 2019, pp. 129–135.

    Bownes, David, and Oliver Green, editors. London Transport Posters. A Century of Art and Design. Lund Humphries, 2008.

    Hedley, Gill. “Three female gallerists who changed the course of British art.” 29 September 2016, Royal Academy, Accessed 27 January 2021.

    Hedley, Gill. Arthur Jeffress. A Life in Art. Bloomsbury, 2020.

    Liaut, Jean-Noël. The Many Lives of Miss K. Toto Koopman. Model, Muse, Spy. Translated by Denise Raab Jacobs, Rizzoli, 2013.

    Mock, Jean-Yves. Erica Brausen. Premier Marchand de Francis Bacon. L’Échoppe, 1996.

    Newton, Eric. “Paul Klee.” The Manchester Guardian, 20 June 1956, p. 7.

    Newton, Eric. “Fantasy in Art: Bacon, Wols, and Felix Kelly.” The Manchester Guardian, 12 June 1959, p. 3.

    Pendennis. “Table Talk.” The Observer, 13 November 1949, p. 5.

    Private Wire. “Our London Correspondence.” The Manchester Guardian, 9 June 1948, p. 4.

    Summers, Cherith. “Hanover Gallery.” Brave New Visions. The Émigrés who transformed the British Art World, exh. cat. Sotheby’s, St. George’s Gallery, London, 2019, p. 18. issuu, Accessed 25 February 2021.

    Taylor, Brandon. Art for the Nation: Exhibitions and the London Public 1747–2001 (The Barber Institute’s Critical Perspectives in Art History). Manchester University Press, 1999.

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  • Burcu Dogramaci
  • 1947
  • 1973
  • Erica Brausen

  • London
  • No
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Hanover Gallery." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 27-04-2021.
  • Ala Story
    GalleristCuratorArt CollectorMuseums Director

    Originally from Vienna, Ala Story worked for galleries such as Redfern and Storran, opened the Stafford Gallery in 1938 and developed it into the British Art Centre.

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    Marlborough Fine Art
    Art Gallery

    Marlborough Fine Art was founded in 1946 by the Viennese emigrants Harry Fischer and Frank Lloyd in the Mayfair district, focused on Impressionists, Modern and Contemporary Art.

    Word Count: 26

    Modern Art Gallery
    Art Gallery

    The Modern Art Gallery, founded by the émigré painter, sculptor and writer Jack Bilbo, was a forum for the presentation of modern art, specialising in the work of emigrant artists.

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    St. George’s Gallery
    Art Gallery

    In 1943, the art dealer Lea Bondi Jaray, with support of Otto Brill, also exiled from Vienna, took over St. George’s Gallery in Mayfair, exhibiting contemporary British and continental art.

    Word Count: 30