Artist Dora Holzhandler dies


The artist Dora Holzhandler has died at the age of 87.

Her family said they were “deeply saddened” to announce that she died at home “peacefully on October 8 surrounded by her family”.

Known for her naive style of painting, she was a favourite of art loving celebrities.

Admirers included the late Charlie Chaplin (whose portrait she painted); the art historian Sister Wendy Beckett, who described her as an artist for whom "all is sacred'; as well as actress Maureen Lipman and the comedian Jack Dee, both of whom opened shows for her during her career.

Mrs Holzhandler, who lived and painted in her home in London's Holland Park, was born in Paris in March 1928 to Polish-Jewish parents - her father, Sehia, was a handbag-maker; her mother Ruchla, a seamstress.

Her grandfather was killed in Auschwitz and her family fled Poland, via France, to settle in Dalston, east London.

In 2007, the National Theatre in Warsaw illustrated its programme of a play by Isaac Bashevis Singer with her paintings.

Most recently, she was commissioned by the musician Nigel Kennedy to paint the artwork for his 2013 album 'Recital'.

A self-declared “Jew-Bu”, she drew inspiration from both the mundane and the mystical aspects of Jewish life and her conversion to Buddhism, which strongly influenced her painting both in subject matter, symbolism and artistic traditions.

A spokesperson for the family said: “She was a feisty woman who was ahead of her time.

“Eschewing traditional paths, she forged a highly successful career among a mid-century male-dominated art world, sticking resolutely to her distinctive painting style.

“Above all, her devotion to her role as wife, mother and grandmother shone continuously through her subject matter, which she depicted with touching, simple elegance and subtle humour.”

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