“We did not realise that there are people who cannot understand that art has no race prejudices and barriers”

This press cutting describes an attack in 1958 on the premises of a north London art dealer which was provoked by the display of paintings depicting white women with black men. In an anonymous note the perpetrators described themselves as “race-conscious Britons whose aim is to destroy Jewish-Negroid propaganda in any shape or form”.

Below the cutting is an extract from a letter from the creator of the paintings Hedi Schick. She was one of the Austrian refugees assisted by the publisher and humanitarian Victor Gollancz in 1938. Not surprisingly, this incident evoked unpleasant memories for her. Tip: you might get a better view of the images by clicking or tapping on them.

Victor Gollancz papers: MSS.157/3/ART/1/48i; MSS.157/3/ART/1/49/1

Press cutting on racist attack on art in north London, 1958

Extract from letter from artist whose work was attacked by racists, 1958


“ . . . a proof of the savagery of the so called Spanish nationalists”

Part of a pamphlet on the bombing in 1936 of the Prado Museum in Madrid by Nationalist aircraft during the Spanish Civil War. It was published by the Quinto Regimiento Acero, an elite corps of militia which supported the Spanish Republican government. It alleges that the Nationalists deliberately targeted the museum and that only precautions taken by the government prevented much damage being done to works by artists including Velázquez, Titian, El Greco, Goya and Murillo. Tip: you might get a better view of the image by clicking or tapping on it.

Trades Union Congress archive: MSS.292/946/18b/71

Part of pamphlet on bombing of Prado Museum, 1936


Art and nationhood: a dangerous mural

Extract from an Amnesty International briefing of October 1989 on the arrest of Hong Song-dam and three other South Korean artists on charges of organising the creation of a large mural entitled A history of the National Liberation Movement and of sending photographic slides of it to be displayed in the North Korean capital Pyongyang. Hong Song-dam was a leading member of the Korean Nationalistic Artists Federation which aimed for the reunification of North and South Korea through the promotion of traditional art-forms. Tip: you might get a better view of the image by clicking or tapping on it.

Amnesty International archive: MSS.34/4/1/KO.S/106

Extract from Amnesty International briefing on the arrests of four  South Korean artists, 1989

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