"Despite everything"

Fred Uhlman - a Jewish fate
21 May – 12 September 2021

About the exhibition

On the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of Jewish life in Germany and the celebrations of the Week of Brotherhood in Stuttgart, we have focused on a "lost son" of Stuttgart who has so far received too little attention.

Fred Uhlman was born in Stuttgart in 1901 and worked here as a lawyer from 1927. In March 1933 he had to flee into exile in France. In 1936 he met his future wife Diana Croft and moved to London to live with her. Uhlman had already begun painting as a self-taught artist in France in 1934 and now continued to do so successfully in England. In June 1940 he was arrested and interned for six months on the Isle of Man, where he met Kurt Schwitters. There he created the cycle "Captivity", drawn in black pen and grey and black brush. In this series, Uhlman depicts gloomy, symbolic and above all anti-church visions of the present and coming times and their atrocities on the battlefields - a modern "dance of death".  Hope is partly provided by flowers that grow from burial mounds and skulls, and a little girl with a balloon who wanders through some of the apocalyptic scenes: On some of the sheets there is a dedication to his daughter, born on 3 July 1940.

In 1950, Fred Uhlman, who died in London in 1985, donated 38 drawings from this cycle to the State Gallery. In 1960, his autobiography "The Making of an Englishman" (German "Erinnerungen eines Stuttgarter Juden") was published. In the copy he donated to Stuttgart City Hall, he handwrote the dedication "Der Stadt Stuttgart. In spite of everything".

Our exhibition in the Graphik-Kabinett presented these works for the first time in Stuttgart. An accompanying programme not only focused on the fate of so many Jewish artists during the Nazi era, but also discussed the significance of Jewish culture in Germany from a contemporary perspective.   


Learn more about Fred Uhlman in this academic essay by curator Dr. Corinna Höper:

"Trotz Allem"

In the context of

Logo Jüdisches Leben

Interactive web feature

In the dark - a glow

The exhibition was accompanied online by an interactive narrative that literally brings to light the life story of the artist and his works: drawings from the series "Captivity" and photographs provide insights into contemporary history as well as Fred Uhlman's biography. They illuminate art-historical aspects via atmospheric sound, image and a special kind of interaction.

To the webfeature


Grimme Online Award 2022

Our interactive narrative "In the dark - a glow" on the exhibition "Despite everything. Fred Uhlman - a Jewish Fate" won the Grimme Online Award in the category "Culture and Entertainment".

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