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Field Workers

© estate of Josef Herman. All rights reserved, DACS 2022. Photo credit: y Gaer Museum, Art Gallery & Library

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Born in Warsaw in 1911 into a working-class Jewish family, Josef Herman arrived in Britain in 1940, settling first in Glasgow and then in the South Wales mining village of Ystradgynlais. By the early 1950s, known mainly for his images of Welsh miners, he had established himself as a major figure in contemporary British art. Always interested in the dignity of labour, both industrial and rural, and in the depths of the human spirit, Herman expressed himself in simplified shapes and vivid colours. ‘I was struck by the quiet of the distance, the low hills like sleeping dogs and, above the hills, a copper-coloured sky – how often later I returned to the colour and mood of that sky’, he has said. Herman was known fondly as 'Joe Bach' to the people of Ystradgynlais, the former mining community at the top of the Swansea Valley where he lived for 11 years from 1944, only leaving when the dampness of the Welsh climate began affecting his health.

y Gaer – Museum, Art Gallery & Library



Field Workers




oil on board


H 73.6 x W 90.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

transferred from the Arts Council of Wales, 2002

Work type



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y Gaer – Museum, Art Gallery & Library

Glamorgan Street, Brecon, Powys LD3 7DW Wales

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