British painter, lithographer, book illustrator, and designer, born in the East End of London into a poor Russian-Jewish immigrant family. For much of his life he suffered ill-health and from the age of nine to fourteen he was in hospital, where he taught himself to draw and paint. His artistic talents enabled him to find employment in a monumental mason's workshop and then in an architect's office, and after studying for five years at evening classes at *St Martin's School of Art he won a scholarship to the *Royal College of Art in 1922. After leaving the RCA in 1925, he suffered poverty for several years before his career began to flourish. He regarded himself as a painter and hoped to make his living as such, but in fact he was chiefly successful in various types of commercial work, in which he made use of his expert skills as a lithographer.
Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)