(1928 – 2015)

Born to Jewish Polish parents in Paris, and relocating to London during WWII, in style, subject and biography, Holzhandler was often compared to Marc Chagall. But whether exemplifying modernism or primitivism, Holzhandler eschewed dualities. Painting the intimacies of birth, sex, food, faith, family, home and nature, Holzhandler’s created worlds are both imminent and transcendent, naïve and sophisticated. Repeatedly, the celebratory female body is pivotal to her compositions. As Holzhandler once noted, unlike Chagall’s, her lovers have their feet rooted firmly on the ground. Her bodies rarely float, but in the painted leitmotif of a black and white checkerboard, the human body is wedded to the no-thingness from which form arises. Holzhandler’s abstract pattern-making enacts esoteric teachings of Judaism and Buddhism, of which she was a student. Abstraction, symbolism and primitivism merge in a singular vision. Holzhandler’s art embodies the ‘innocence on the far end of experience’.

First discovered by artist Victor Pasmore in 1947, Holzhandler went on to show widely in the UK. Her work is held by the Gallery of Modern Art (Glasgow), The Jewish Museum (London), The Ben Uri Museum (London), The Ruth Borchard Collection, Pallant House, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, as well as by collectors worldwide.

The Baldwin is honoured to represent the estate of Dora Holzhandler.