In March 2011 we held our first exhibition featuring paintings and prints by naive artist Dora Holzhandler.
Born in Paris in 1928 into a family of Polish refugees, Dora was later sent to live with a Catholic foster family on a farm in Normandy, France. She returned to her large Jewish family and the urban life when she was five years old before the family moved to the London in 1934. The immediate family endured the War in England, but much of her extended family perished at Auschwitz. In 1948, she attended the Anglo-French Art School in St. John’s Wood and settled in Hampstead with her husband.
Her childhood memories and Jewish roots permeate her work, as do her Buddhist beliefs. Among Dora’s later travels was a trip to Dharamsala, India in 2002 for an audience with his Holiness The Dalai Lama. Dora claims that ‘now, as a Buddhist, I can really enjoy being Jewish.’
Dora Holzhandler’s enchantingly innocent art has many fans, including Irish writer Edna O’Brien, television art historian Sister Wendy Beckett and comedian Jack Dee amongst others. She had a major retrospective of her work at the Ben Uri Gallery in 2006.
We were deeply saddened to announce Dora’s death on 9th October 2015. Her passing was a great loss to the world of art and she and her work will be remembered fondly by all at the Gallery.