Rabbi and Rabbitzin

Image credit: Ben Uri Collection

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Three years out of the Slade, Gertler’s work became increasingly experimental. This drawing, executed on the eve of the First World War, captures the tension between the traditional way of life depicted and the incipient warfare which threatens to overwhelm it. The concentrated, almost claustrophobic domestic interior with the scrubbed kitchen table and simple meal typify Jewish East End life of the period. The simplification of the figures and the still life objects seen from different viewpoints reflect Gertler’s awareness of Cézanne, while the treatment of the dresser and crockery shows the influence of Cubism. The presence of a grid (common Slade practice for squaring up the picture for transfer to canvas) indicates that Gertler planned a painting of the composition.

Ben Uri Gallery & Museum



Rabbi and Rabbitzin




watercolour & pencil on paper


H 48.8 x W 37.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by private treaty through Sotheby's with the assistance of the Art Fund, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, Pauline and Daniel Auerbach, Sir Michael and Lady Heller, Agnes and Edward Lee, Hannah and David Lewis, David Stern, Laura and Barry Townsley, Della and Fred Worms and anonymous donors, 2002

Work type


Signature/marks description

Mark Gertler 1914


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Ben Uri Gallery & Museum

108a Boundary Road, St John's Wood, London, Greater London NW8 0RH England

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