The Master follows our recent Golden Years exhibition of work by Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, whose work is currently the subject of a centenary exhibition The Roberts at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.

Jankel Adler was a Polish painter and printmaker, originally from Lodz. He had shared a studio with Paul Klee in Dusseldorf in the early 1930’s and was a well-known figure in artistic circles across Europe. With the Nazi rise to power, he fled the country in 1933. In Germany, his work became labelled ‘degenerate’, a term used to describe modern art . When war broke out in 1939, he volunteered for the Polish Army in France and in 1940 he was evacuated to Scotland.

He first came into contact with the Roberts in Glasgow after being discharged from the army in 1941. In 1943 he took a studio in the same apartment block as the Roberts at Bedford Gardens in London. Adler was an artist who was taxed with standing midway between Picasso and Klee; ‘a very good place to be’.

The Roberts admired Adler and his work; he was a sophisticated painter with a direct link to European art. Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde referred to Adler as ‘the master’. In Adler’s work they recognised a compassionate painter who had a form of expression that was both humanistic and universal.