Josef Herman 1911-2000
from Studies for ‘The Pit Pony’:
Two Seated Miners, Miner with Pony in Background c.1953-5
Inscribed on back in pencil ‘1A’ top right and ‘582’ bottom right
Presented by the artist 1981
?Drawing Towards Painting, Arts Council tour 1961-2, Leicester Art Gallery, October-November 1961, Arts Council Gallery, Cambridge, November-December, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, December 1961-January 1962, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, January-February, Gracefield Art Centre, Dumfries, February-March, Nottingham University Gallery, March, Turner House, Penarth, April, York City Art Gallery, May, Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, June, Arts Council Gallery, London, July-August, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, August-September 1962 (no number)
?Josef Herman: Retrospective Exhibition, Camden Arts Centre, London, January-March 1980 (85a as ‘The Pit Pony Preliminary drawings ... Study for tones in the composition, pen and ink and brown wash’)
Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1980-2, London 1984, pp.126-8, reproduced p.128
The careful progression of Josef Herman’s method is epitomised in the group of Studies for ‘The Pit Pony’ even as individual sheets demonstrate considerable freedom. The handling of the brown wash in Two Seated Miners, Miner with Pony in Background is even looser than that in the closely related Three Seated Miners, Miner with Pony in Background (T03199). This is also true of the details, so much so that only one miner is shown at the right. The more concentrated blocks of wash which establish the disposition of the shadows on the limbs, create a rhythm of horizontals and verticals almost independent of the bodies and in some ways reminiscent of the tubular modelling used by Fernand Léger.
While all the related drawings show signs of studio wear – fingerprints, buckling and creasing - Two Seated Miners, Miner with Pony in Background has been badly damaged at some time. Skimming of the surface resulted in various losses, and a large tear in the shape of a ‘7’ had cut across the chest and arm of the right-most figure. This, together with the loss of the right corner of the sheet, was repaired on acquisition by the gallery.
This is one of nine sheets of Studies for ‘The Pit Pony’ presented by the artist; general issues relating to their creation are discussed in the entry on Reclining Miner (Tate T03196).