Related Twilights: Notes from an Artist's Diary
The distinguished painter Josef Herman left his native Warsaw shortly before the war. He lived and worked in many places since, and his friends numbered many well-known artists. In Related Twilights the same qualities of seriousness of purpose and profound humanity which permeate his paintings lend eloquence to his word-pictures of the people, places and events that shaped his life and art.
The first part of the book is a vivid evocation of his childhood and adolescence in the now-vanished, colourful Yiddish-speaking quarter of Warsaw, and of his fruitful years in Scotland, London and Wales – where some of his best-known work was done. The second part consists of lively reminiscences of those places, visited or lived in, that enriched Herman’s instinct for draughtsmanship and nourished his artistic imagination: Burgundy, Andalusia, Israel, Amsterdam, New York, Mexico. Both parts are illustrated with Herman’s drawings, many of which have never before been seen.
The artists whom Herman discusses in the third part of the book are included for the qualities that were particularly meaningful to his own artistic self-revelation. Among those discussed are Derain, Millet, Courbet; Americans Ryder and Hartley; Sironi and Morandi; Permeke; Gotlib; Klee; Epstein; the Mexican artists Siqueiros, Rivera and Orozco.
Like so many painters, past and present, Herman found writing necessary to express those ideas and atmospheres which – due to their literary and anecdotal nature – cannot find their way into the medium of painting. Related Twilights is an important book not only for admirers of his paintings, but for all those who enjoy good writing imbued with humanity and understanding.