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Barnett Freedman (1901-1958)

Barnett Freedman CBE (1901 - 1958) was a distinguished modern British artist whose broad career embraced painting, typography, lettering, commercial design, printmaking, illustration and teaching. He was also appointed an official war artist between 1940-6.
Born in Stepney in the East End of London in 1901, the son of Russian / Polish immigrants, Freedman had a precocious talent for drawing from an early age. However, he came late to formal art education, due to an extended period of ill health between the ages of nine and 13, followed by employment from 15 in various skilled jobs in which he utilised this talent – draughtsman to a monumental mason, architect and sign-writer. Evening classes at St Martin’s School of art were followed by a scholarship to the Royal College of Art from 1922 - 5, obtained with assistance from the college’s Principal, William Rothenstein, where he studied with under the distinguished painter Paul Nash. Freedman retained strong links with the RCA throughout his working life, as a tutor, examiner and finally as Honorary Fellow.
As a war artist Freedman spent time with the army towards the end of the ‘Phoney’ war, recording the construction of defences north of Arras; with the navy illustrating HMS Repulse and HM submarine Tribune; and most notably in 1944, documenting the final preparations for D Day in the
57 War Room at the Portsmouth headquarters of the Allied forces. Such varied commissions came about as Freedman regularly aggravated his employers, critical of the difficulty he was finding in accessing his subject matter. The War Office commented with exasperation as Freedman was dismissed from a post in summer 1940, that “It is really more important to keep out the Germans than to take in Mr Barnett Freedman.”
Freedman’s reputation today rests most strongly with his commercial illustration, particularly book jacket designs for Faber and Faber in London and for the Limited Edition Club, New York, where his pen and chalk drawings were reproduced most effectively via a lithographic process. Using colour lithography on a larger scale, he also produced posters for notable companies including J. Lyons and Co. Ltd. and Arthur Guinness and Sons Ltd. As a commercial and industrial designer he worked for, amongst others, William Macdonald and Sons (Biscuits) Ltd., Shell-Mex, BP, Elstree Film Studios, London Passenger Transport Board, and also designed a number of commemorative stamps for the General Post Office, including a George V Jubilee issue.
Freedman was awarded the CBE in 1946, was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry in 1949, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1956 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
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Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Portrait of Man Reading', Oil on Canvas laid on Board, C.1922.
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Woman Sitting', Oil on Canvas laid on Board, C.1922
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'The Christmas Party', Watercolour, 1944.
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Landscape with Haystacks', Oil on Canvas on Board', C.1922
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Still Life With Radishes', Oil on Canvas, C.1922.
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Landscape With Trees', Oil on Canvas laid on Board. C. 1922
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Landscape, With View of a House II
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Landscape, With View of House', Oil on Canvas laid on Board, C.1922
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Study of a Male Model', Oil on Canvas laid on Board, C.1922
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'View of Cottage, Farm and Outbuildings', Oil on Canvas laid on Board, C.1922
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Street Scene (Unfinished)', Oil on Canvas laid on Board, C.1922
Freedman, Barnett (1901-1958), 'Woman Standing With Arms Folded', Oil on Canvas laid on Board, C.1922.
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