Still Life, Vase with Flowers
Mark Gertler was born in Spitalfields, London to Austrian-Jewish immigrant parents. He spent his early childhood in Galicia, Austria, returning to the East End in 1896. He studied at Regent Street Polytechnic (1906–08) and the Slade (1908–11). He exhibited with the Friday Club (c.1910–22), the New English Art Club (1911–16), the Chenil Gallery (1912–13) and with Roger Fry’s Omega Workshops (1917–18). Bomberg included him in the ‘Jewish Section’ of Twentieth-Century Art: A Review of Modern Movements at the Whitechapel in 1914. Profoundly influenced by Fry’s Post-Impressionist exhibitions, Gertler’s work was highly experimental between 1913 and 1920. During the First World War, he was initially rejected for military service because of his Austrian parentage; then declared medically unfit when called up in 1918. Suffering from depression, he left an Official War Artists’ commission unfulfilled. He had five one-man shows at the Goupil Gallery (1921–26) and was a leading member of The London Group, but tuberculosis confined him to sanatoria (1920, 1925, 1929 and 1936). He held five shows at the Leicester Galleries (1932–29) and taught part-time at the Westminster (1931–39). He committed suicide in 1939. More biographical information is included in the commentary on the painting Rabbi and Rabbitzin.