The experience of Albert Reuss was not dissimilar to that of many European Jews in the 1930s. Fleeing Austria in 1938, he lost many members of his family and his possessions, as well as the reputation he built up in his native Vienna. This book is the story of how he re-established himself in a new country. If the name is not familiar, the tale is gripping as well as moving and stands as representative of what happened to so many in the middle of the last century.
After his arrival, Reuss continued to work and held exhibitions throughout England, moving to Cornwall in 1948. The choice of Mousehole is a slightly surprising one and the full story is recounted here. The actual arrival is not unlike that of other artists who moved to the area – they seem to have arrived with their suitcases almost out of the blue.
Reuss’s career bloomed and he established the ARRA gallery locally as well as holding one-man shows at the O’Hana Gallery in London. His work is now held at the Newlyn Art Gallery as well as the British Museum, the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. It is perhaps telling, however, that a quotation that accompanies the press release for the book refers to “the painter whose work fills [the Newlyn Art Gallery’s] store” – not all this work is on permanent exhibition.
This is not a heavily illustrated book and, as an introduction to the artist, is more of interest for the story it has to tell. However, those illustrations (a colour section includes 52 works) that are included show a considerable talent as well as reflecting the emotional harshness and sense of loss at the heart of their creator’s life.
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