Austria and Britain at those times. Blair Todd, Exhibition Curator, Newlyn Art Gallery
His story deserves our attention, especially in this current age of global refugees, and acute political issues of asylum and racial identity. John Halkes, Director, Newlyn Orion Galleries, 1974-1990
This is the compelling account of the life and work of Albert Reuss (1889-1975), a Jewish painter and sculptor who developed a uniquely individual style. Born in Vienna, he emigrated to England in 1938 following Hitler’s annexation of Austria. In the process, Reuss lost many members of his family, as well as all his possessions, and the reputation he had built up as an artist in Vienna prior to his departure. Many of his artworks were confiscated by the Nazis. He continued to work as an artist in England, but his style changed dramatically, reflecting the trauma he had suffered.
Reuss and his wife Rosa were helped to escape from Vienna by Cornishman and Quaker, John Sturge Stephens. Following his exile, Reuss held numerous solo exhibitions in municipal galleries throughout England and in 1948, he and Rosa moved to Mousehole, Cornwall, where they established the ARRA Gallery. From 1953 to 1973 he held regular one-man shows at the renowned O’Hana Gallery in London. Several provincial galleries hold his work, most notably Newlyn Art Gallery in Cornwall, as do the British Museum, the Belvedere Gallery and the Albertina in Vienna, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel.
In researching the life of this intriguing man, Susan Soyinka interviewed many people who knew him, and also retrieved a huge archive on Reuss from Vienna, which included much of his lifetime’s correspondence. A most fascinating story emerged, full of human drama and tragedy, of this lonely and isolated artist's struggle to develop his art and to survive, all set against the background of world historic events. The book includes first-hand accounts of the couple’s escape from Vienna, and of their experience as refugees in war-time Britain.