Artistic imports

A private collection of paintings and drawings by Polish artists accumulated over 30 years by a private collector are going on public display for the first time.

Pole Position: Polish Art in Britain 1939-1989, opening at the Graves Gallery on Saturday, sheds light on a neglected chapter in the history of modern British art.

But Matthew Bateson says he began collecting works by Polish artists forced to flee mainland Europe during the Second World War simply because he liked them.

“I began buying them at auction,” he says. “I was attracted to dark and challenging imagery which to some extent was an expression of my own art, reflecting back like a mirror image which is what many artists like to do.

“I was aware that my passion for expressionist and narrative painting was unfashionable and outside the ephemeral art market and celebrity culture that dominates our times.”

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