Design for a Programme (Pioneers)
Jacob Kramer was Ukraine-born to artistic Jewish parents. He was a painter and lithographer who immigrated to Leeds with his family in 1900. He was awarded scholarships to Leeds School of Art. Associated with Herbert Read and the progressive Leeds Arts Club, he was influenced by expressionism, particularly the work of Kandinsky. Encouraged by his patron Michael Sadler, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University, and funded by the Jewish Education Aid Society, he attended the Slade from 1913–14.
His London circle included Bomberg, Epstein, Gertler, Nevinson, Roberts (whose sister, Sarah, he later married) and Wadsworth. Bomberg and Epstein included his work in the ‘Jewish Section’ of the 1914 Whitechapel Gallery exhibition Twentieth Century Art: A Review of Modern Movements. He exhibited with the Allied Artists’ Association, New English Art Club and Glasgow Society of Painters and Sculptors. In 1915 he showed with the Vorticists, and Lewis included his work in Blast. His postwar career dissipated; returning to Leeds in the 1920s, he developed a local reputation as a portraitist. Leeds City Art Gallery hosted a retrospective in 1960.