Josef Herman was as born in Warsaw, one of three children of a Jewish shoemaker. After working in a printing office, he attended the art academy. Following the German invasion of Poland in 1940 he came to Britain, living at first in Glasgow and later settling in South Wales where he recorded the powerful visual impact of the landscape, pits and villages. Having found sympathetic subject matter he travelled widely in Europe, Israel and Mexico, drawing peasants, roadworkers, washerwomen and fishermen at their work and rest. A subjective treatment of the human figure is his exclusive concern. His art attempted to express the eternal ritual of human labour in a consistent style of rough outlines and free patches of colour and shading.