Street Scene, Ystradgynlais
Shrouded in darkness but studded with jewels of colour, this street scene, exudes tranquillity. The working man standing by the door marks the moment at the end of the day when work ceases and the tired labourers wander home.
Born in Poland in 1911, the son of a cobbler, Josef Herman grew up in a mainly Jewish working-class area of Warsaw. Forced to emigrate in 1938, he travelled through Belgium and France before settling in Britain in 1940. His entire family was killed in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.
In 1944, when Herman visited the tiny mining town of Ystradgynlais in South Wales, he was drawn to the close-knit community, which, with its own language, customs and culture was much like his own. He made his home there for the next eleven years and his dignified studies of miners and other working people made his reputation as a painter.