Apart from working on the Tibor Reich textile and the Archaeology museum, most of my
time at the RCC has been spent cataloguing works on paper (and some on board) by artist, illustrator and writer Hans Schwarz. Born in Vienna in 1922, he escaped to Britain on the Kindertransport shortly after the Anschluss in 1938. Upon arriving in 1939, aged 16, he started to work for the Cadbury family here in Birmingham. He lived in Bournville, the area in Birmingham in which the Cadburys created their ‘model village’. Quite a few of the sketches and drawings that I catalogued for the RCC were made before Schwarz’ journey to Britain, and had been stamped when taken out of Austria. On the back of these was a large triangular stamp with the eagle of the Third Reich and a message stating that it was allowed to transport these images out of the country. Seeing this made quite an impact on me, coming closer to the history of Schwarz and to the world of the Second World War.
I’ve enjoyed working with the art works of Hans Schwarz. It feels rare to get to see one artist use so many different kinds of materials, subjects, techniques and styles – and still be somehow recognisable. I have appreciated getting to handle the art works, and to work with documenting and organising – both the actual objects and their records in the object database.
While Schwarz is mostly known for his portraits, and he himself said that depicting people was his greatest interest, his landscapes and illustrations range from serene to entertaining, and should not be forgotten.