Hugo Dachinger

Head and shoulders portrait of a man painted onto newspaper

'Portrait of a man in brown jacket and blue striped tie'

Dachinger was born in 1908 in Gmunden, Upper Austria and studied fine art in Leipzig, Germany. Unable to make a living as an artist, he worked in Vienna, Austria as a window-dresser for the English company Saville and Co. As a Jew, life under the Nazis became increasingly dangerous for Dachinger. By 1939 he had been persuaded by his British customers, with the support of his employers, to move to England.

In June 1940, Dachinger was arrested and taken to Huyton. At the camp, he produced a large number of drawings depicting the physical aspects of the estate, the men's daily activities as well as more intimate portraits of his fellow internees. In many cases he used improvised materials such as discarded newspaper and wallpaper.

By October 1940, Dachinger had been transferred to the Mooragh Camp, Ramsey, Isle of Man. Whilst at the camp, he held an exhibition of his internment pictures called Art Behind Barbed Wire. He was released in January 1941. In April that year, forty of his internment works were exhibited to critical acclaim at the Redfern Gallery in London, Dachinger's first exhibition in Britain as a free man.