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The Catto Gallery is hosting a one man exhibition of paintings by leading Israeli artist David Schneuer (1905-1987) that are new to the market from 9th – 30th March, 2008. There will be a collection of 25 works that have not been seen on the market before, with a total of 40 works available at The Catto Gallery with prices starting from £1,000. This is a unique opportunity to see works by this renowned German Israeli artist for sale in London.

David Schneuer, probably one of the last German Espressionists, lived for the last fifty years of his life in Tel Aviv, painting on his balcony overlooking the city from his top floor flat. Schneuer always claimed to be a craftsman who painted for pleasure and enjoyed observing life going on around him. The work of this international renowned artist has been sought after by collectors all over the world both during and after his lifetime. This is the fifth time, The Catto Gallery has held a show of his work, which can be seen in such collections as the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Münchener Stadt Museum and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, amongst many others.

These paintings date from the 1970s and 1980s; the artist continued to work up to his death in 1987. His was a world of scantily-clad voluptuous women with well-dressed men prowling in the background seeking their favours. These later works still hark back to the slightly seedy milieu he had known so well between the first and second world wars. His scenes could as easily be Munich, the Montparnasse he knew whilst living there or the bustling port of Haifa. His style and figures seem heavily inspired by the work of the German Expressionist Movement, particularly Kirschner, as well as the work of Toulouse-Lautrec during his Moulin Rouge period.

His fascination in poster design in the 1920s and 1930s whilst in Munich is evident in each painting’s composition, with his crowd scenes built up in many layers of humanity. His talent for poster design is seen particularly in the work, ‘Admiring the Painting’, where the pictures at the back of the picture are as closely observed as the courting couple and the lone art critic in the foreground.
Schneuer uses figures as he would use a ‘collage technique’, as can be seen in ‘Montmatre. In his career he had used almost every media possible, although the majority of the works offered in this exhibition are of gouache and pen and ink. He takes great delight in observing humanity, particularly the female form, be it at the ‘Aprés le Bain’ where one gentleman is admiring the curvaceous form of a performer in a leotard; or in the bustle of jostling crowds under the awning of the ‘La Belle Femme’. There is no shortage of male admirers queuing to assist a lady onto her horse at the ‘Horse Show’

His ‘Street Corner’ is louche enough to bring to mind the mid 1930s Kit Kat Club in Munich portrayed in Cabaret, with ladies of the night displaying their ample forms for potential customers. As an observer of these scenes, you are offered a snap-shot in the rapidly moving lives of these performers that is almost voyeuristic, even if we are seeing these people in their best apparel as in ‘A Chance Meeting’ or as in the case of ‘Sharp Suited Gentlemen’ where the said gentleman are closing in on a single young lady.
Mrs Gillian Catto, owner and curator of The Catto Gallery, said, “We are thrilled to have a further opportunity to show David Schneuer’s portrayals of life between the wars, which perfectly illustrate the mix of frivolity and seediness from this period. We are sure collectors will warm to his sense of humour and style evident in these works.”

For further information, images and a catalogue of the forthcoming David Schneuer exhibition, contact The Catto Gallery, 100 Heath Street, Hampstead.

For further information:

Mrs Gillian Catto
The Catto Gallery
100 Heath Street
London NW3 1DP Tel: 020 7435 6660
Fax: 020 7431 5620

Media Enquiries:

Russell Elliott and Selina Mills
Cassleton Elliott & Co. Ltd.
Tel: 020 3178 2336
Fax: 020 3178 2338

Notes to Editors:

David Schneuer’spainting, is located somewhere outside the chronological sequence of art history. His enigmatic personality stands in stark contrast to his flowing imagination, to the pictorial diary unfolding before us in hundreds of pages, as an endless variation on a single, obsessive image. Schneuer peeps at the world, at his past and at the present only to return to his private world, conscious of, but uninvolved in times, places and situations. His feelings towards them have dissolved, they continue to exist through his imagination, out of a need to connect a restricted living-space with the outside world, reluctantly establishing minimal mutual relations. The images, however profuse and voluptuous, are alienated from external reality, as if rendered immune from it and only its echoes penetrate the cloak of hermeticity in which he wrapped hinself.

David was born in, 1905. In his early childhood the family, on its way to America, delayed in Hamburg, and eventually settled for good in Munich. "My father, a handsome man, belonged to the middle intelligentsia. He had studied in a Yeshiva and knew his Talmud. He wanted to be a writer, but was forced by circumstances to become a businessman. His German was faultless, "whereas my mother spoke a mixture of German and Yiddish", When his father was conscripted into the army during the First World War, his mother brought up the children, eking out an existence from a dress shop. "I went to a Catholic school and grew up to some extent at home, and more in the streets, playing with the Bavarian children of the neighbourhood". Towards the end of his studies at the OBERREALSCHULE (secondary school), Schneuer was a member both pf BAR KOCHBA, a non-Zionist Jewish sports club, and of BLAU-WEISS, an association preparing its members for Zionist activity. In this framework, Schneuer was sent to East Prussia and trained in assorted farming chores: loading the harvest on horses, sowing potatoes. Schneuer underwent some of the formative experiences of his life before the age of 20 meanwhile, he did not know whether to be a German, a German Jew or a Zionist Jew, a farmer or a merchant. Of medium height and broad-shouldered, diligent, and energetic, he was destined to become a “craftsaman”. “Farming was actually my first preparation for craftsmanship,” Said
Schneuer. The turn of events, combined with his intuition and strong sensuality, were to make the craftsman onto an artist.

Upon returning from Prussia he took to lettering and painting signboards for Jewish shops in Munich. He spent six months with a sign painter in Berlin. Upon returning to Munich he applied to the Kunstgewerbeschule (school of arts and crafts) in the Louisenstrasse. Schneuer related: “Professor Richard Klein, who was in charge of the Munchner Konstlerfeste, assigned us to design a poster for the event. I submitted two sketches and was thrown out of school for ‘insufficient talent’, only to discover that the actual poster announcing the Kunstlerfeste was based on one of my sketches”. From there he went on to the Berufsschule (vocational school) in the Werkenriederstrasse, under the direction of professor Ruckert. “it was a good school where I learned to make decorative designs”. To support himself during his studies, he designed “expressionist and simple” posters. Among his Munich friends was Georg Gidal brother of the well-known photographer Tim Gidal, and a photographer in his own right. He persuaded Schneuer to go to Paris. Schneuer followed his advice and arrived in Paris with a Scanty knowledge of French, laboriously acquired during six years of study. A friend found him a hotel in Montparnasse. For half a year he lived in a room on the sixth floor, a tiny room with a tiny table. In the evenings he would sit drawing from his imagination, and during the day he roamed the streets”.
Upon his return to Munich – once more taking the advice of Georg Gidal – he introduced himself at the Munchnern Kammerspiele Im Schauspielhuse, and was engaged at the theater. The first part of his artistic career had begun. It was to come to an end five years later, in 1932.

In November 1933 Schneuer found himself walking along Allenby Street in Tel Aviv like "Gulliver among die Lilliputians". The eclectic style of the city, barely 25 years old, lent it an almost historical air somewhere between Orientalism and the style of Eastern Europe. But the newly arrived immigrants from Germany, highly educated and employed in the liberal professions, brought with them the new BAUHAUS style of architecture -plain, unadorned, white three-storeyed houses, all but unknown in conservative Munich - and the suburbs of the "white city" began to indent the coastal dunes at a rapid rate. The Munich period had come to an end in the first part of the same year. Schneuer was arrested, whether because of his Jewishness, or because of his Communist sympathies, and deported to Dachau. Most of the drawings he did in Paris disappeared together with his books after his release from the concentration camp in Dachau.

After being detained for two months, he was released and left Munich like a thief in the night, his suitcase full of drawings executed on sheets of the drawing pad purchased at the Bon Marche and a 'handful of books. Exhausted, he reached Prague, where he met friends, refugees like himself: Julius Gellner who helped him procure a small sum of money from one of the wealthy Prague Jews and Thomas Theodor Heine, frequenting an emigre cafe. A month and a half later the emigration certificate to Palestine, obtained by the instrumentality of Tim Gidal, arrived from Berlin, and Schneuer got up and left. Here again we are in need of Schneuer's testimony in order to reconstruct the story of his life and work. However, as he likes to intertwine people and events in his reminiscences, and as he usually put at most only his signature on his drawings, we have to go by the dates on which the posters appeared, cafes and hotels were opened, ships were launched and his friends immigrated to the country, in order to bring works of art and events together in time.

Schneuer's life in Israel can be divided into four main periods: The first Tel Aviv years (1933-1937), Jerusalem (1938-1939), back to Tel Aviv (1939-C.1965), and 1965 to the present. It is possible to define the first period as an adjustment to everyday life and to the dynamics of the rapidly emerging culture. This was a period of prosperity, culminating in the Levant Fair of 1934. The ensuing depression forced him to move to Jerusalem, but he soon returned to Tel Aviv and to a period of renewed building activity. The fourth , and final period is characterized by a gradual abandoning of applied graphics and of work in collaboration with architects, and by seclusion in the studio until his death in 1987.

The Catto Gallery

The Catto Gallery is one of London’s leading contemporary fine art galleries. Since founding the Gallery in 1986, Gillian Catto has built up a reputation for excellence and has created a friendly and warm environment for collectors throughout the world. The Catto Gallery represents over 50 internationally acclaimed artists all of whom can be seen on this web site. 12 exhibitions are held a year; the catalogues for these exhibitions can also be viewed on this web site.
Gallery opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 10.00am to 6.00pm, Sunday 2.30pm to 6.00pm.

Parking is available on the Gallery's forecourt and pay and display nearby.

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