1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG mined to pursue art and nothing else. He met at first with disappointment, and endured many privations. But before long he found good friends. Mr. Amschewitz, an artist, and Mr. Samuels warmly interested themselves in his behalf. Through them he made the acquaintance of three ladies, Mrs. Josephs, Mi's. Herbert Cohen, and Mrs. Lowy, who undertook to provide the means for his training at the Slade School. Through Mr. Emanuel's friendship he had become a member of "The Limners, 11 a club of artists and art teachers, which met at Mr. Emanuel's studio. Here he had the opportunity of meeting other artists and exchanging ideas. Prizes were given, which young Rosenberg occasionally won. In spite, therefore, of his poverty and unpropitious surroundings, he had now won sympathetic friends, and received both encouragement and material help from discerning compatriots. But with his sensitive artisfs pride and jealous independence of spirit, he was not always easy to understand ; and those who, with the sole desire to help him, advanced his circumstances sometimes felt that their efforts did not seem to be appreciated. The case is not unfamiliar to readers of artists 1 biographies. 6

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR — Rosenberg went to the Slade School in October, 1911, and remained till March, 1914. He won prizes at the school and praise from his teachers. Thrown among contemporaries, all occupied with the problems of art and the discussion of them, he became tinged with the temper and the prevalent ideas of his own generation of students. His He natural bent, I think, was in another direction. showed me drawings and studies from time to time, and I saw a few of his paintings when they were exhibited one summer at the Whitechapel Gallery. He was full of ideas, was a capable draughtsman, and could conceive an interesting design. Yet, to judge from what I have seen of his work, it did not seem to be for him the inevitable means of expression. He once showed me at his studio a large, ambitious composition—an oil-painting which I fancy was never completed. I cannot recall the nominal subject, but it was saturated with symbolism and required a good deal of explanation. I liked the mysteriousness of it, and the ideas which inspired the painting had suggested figures and groups and visionary glimpses of landscape which had passages of real beauty, though the whole work had grown impossibly complex with its convolutions of symbolic meaning. It reminded me 7