Born in Warsaw in 1911 into a working-class Jewish family, Josef Herman arrived in Britain (via Belgium) in 1940, settling first in Glasgow and then in the South Welsh mining village of Ystradgynlais. By the early 1950s, known mainly for his images of Welsh miners, Josef Herman had established himself as a major figure in contemporary British art and his work featured prominently in the 1951 Festival of Britain.
By the end of the decade, examples of his work had entered virtually every important public collection in the UK. Further public recognition came in 1981, when Josef Herman was awarded an OBE, and in 1990, when he was elected a Royal Academician
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