Manchester artist goes from carpet shop to sharing a gallery wall with Picasso

When superstar illusionist Uri Geller plucked him from obscurity, Dan Adler could scarcely believe his eyes


An unknown Manchester artist is to have his work displayed alongside Picasso, Dali and Andy Warhol after one of his paintings caught the eye of illusionist Uri Geller.

Daniel Adler has been commissioned to produce a piece for Geller’s museum in Tel Aviv which houses an eclectic collection of art and artefacts amassed during the self-proclaimed psychic’s five decades in showbusiness.

It means Adler, 52, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, will be able to stop working as a stock controller at his family’s carpet business in Leigh, near Wigan — a job he has done for the past 36 years — and concentrate on art full-time.

Until now the artist has sold his work through a local charity art shop for between £100 and £1,500 a time and his commissions have all come from congregants at South Manchester Synagogue, where Adler is a member.

But, after seeing a series of Adler’s intricate spirographic works which Geller likened to the lithographs of the Dutch graphic artist Escher, the spoon-bending entertainer asked him to create one for his Israeli gallery.

“A family friend showed Uri a series of my works I have simply called The Spirographs. He loved them, and asked to be put in touch,” Adler told the JC.

“We then had a long chat on Zoom during which he talked about his museum which includes an egg-shaped object from John Lennon and lots of paintings from Dali, whose surrealist dreamworlds have influenced my own work.

"He and Escher are my favourite artists.”

When Geller told him he was planning to hang his work next to one of Picasso’s Easel paintings, Adler was “blown away.”

“This is major recognition, which has boosted my self-esteem no end,” he said. “Until now, I have basically used art a form of relaxation therapy.”

He added that the autism, with which he was diagnosed at the age of seven -- he was one of the first children in Britain to receive a diagnosis -- had been a gift for his art. “It enables me to concentrate on detail and it keeps me focused.”

For his part, Geller told the BBC he hoped the recognition could lead to an international art career for Adler, describing the work he has commissioned as “stand out” good.

“If you zoom into it it’s like you’re entering infinity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Adler is also sketching a complex image of South Manchester Synagogue to mark its 150th anniversary.

His father Brian told the JC the family was delighted by Geller’s offer.

“Just three weeks ago, Daniel announced he wanted to stop working at the family business and become a full-time artist. Now, he actually can. I’m a religious person and for me it’s no coincidence the commission came when it did.

“And it’s thoroughly deserved,” he added. “Daniel has served a long apprentice. From the age of seven to 17, he would only draw roads.

"Then he moved on to buildings, detailing each brick in painstaking, fine-brush detail.

“I’ve been to Israel around 60 times in my life and my next visit wil be to see my son’s work hung in Uri Geller’s gallery. I can’t wait.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive