Jankel Adler

1895 1949
(Pologne) 1895 /   (Royaume-Uni) 1949

Jankel Adler was born into a religious family and was the seventh in a family of ten children. His father was a miller in Tuszyn, near Lodz. He studied engraving in Belgrade in 1912 and enrolled in an art school in Barmen, Germany a year later. He continued his studies until 1914 at the Academy of Decorative Arts in Dusseldorf with Gustav Wiethüchter.

During the war, he joined the Russian army and was captured by the German army but he was quickly released.

In 1918, he got closer to the group Der Sturm. Back in Poland, Adler exhibited his work in Lodz and in Warsaw. In 1919, in Lodz, he was involved in the creation of the group Yung Yiddish, together with founder-writer Moyshe Broderzon. He left for Dusseldorf in 1920. He met Otto Dix in 1922. That same year, he helped found the group Die Kommune and the International Exhibition of revolutionary artists in Berlin. HisPlanetarium frescos in 1925 were highly successful. Following a trip to Spain in 1930, Adler returned to the Dusseldorf Academy in 1931 where he continued to study with Paul Klee. He drew a revolutionary poster during the Reichstag elections in February after Hitler came to power.

Adler fled Nazi Germany and arrived in Paris in 1933. He travelled widely from 1935 to 1937  and visited Italy, Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Russia and Poland. A major retrospective on his work took place in Warsaw in 1935.

Jankel Adler returned to Paris in 1937 and worked with the printmaker Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17. He stayed at Cagnes-sur- Mer before joining the Polish army.

During World War II, he was discharged from service because of his poor health in 1941, and was evacuated to a suburb of London in 1943.

Adler never went back to Germany. As many of his relatives died in the Holocaust, he refused to exhibit his work in this country and ended his days in England.