Josef Herman was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1911. His refugee journey began with a brief spell in Belgium and France before he came to the UK, first to Glasgow in 1940, and then to Ystradgynlais in South Wales. He arrived in Ystradgynlais in 1944 and lived and worked there until 1955. It was in South Wales that he built his reputation as an artist, with his paintings of Welsh miners as the archetypal working man forming a template for all his subsequent drawings and paintings of farm labourers, fishermen and peasants.
He won the Gold Medal for Fine Art in the 1962 National Eisteddfod, was awarded the OBE in 1981 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy in 1990.
He travelled and exhibited widely and his work is held in many of the world’s major museums.
When he died in 2000, Josef Herman was well established as one of the most important figures in 20th century British art, and as a major influence on a whole generation of Welsh artists in particular.