In 2009, an 83-year-old widower went to clear out his attic and found a trove of paintings.
His stepmother had died 20 years earlier, and he completely forgot that he had stored away more than 100 artworks by his stepfather, a German artist named Erich Wolfsfeld.
Wolfsfeld was born in Western Prussia in 1884. He studied at the Berlin Academy of Arts with Konrad Böse and continued with Jules Lefèbvre at the Académie Julien in Paris. He worked in Rome with other expatriate German artists Otto Greiner and Max Klinger.
During World War I, he spent two years in the army, and he took the opportunity to draw portraits of soldiers.
He won acclaim for his etchings of nudes, bound prisoners, and beggars. He taught at the Berlin Academy in the 1920s, but he was fired in 1936 by the Nazis because of his Jewish religion.
He was deeply inspired by a series of travels to Egypt, Palestine and North Africa. When he relocated to England, he often posed his models in exotic costumes to reconstruct scenes he had sketched in his travels. His customary painting garb was a long white Arab robe.
|Erich Wolfsfeld portrait of Arnold Auerbach|
Wolfsfeld died in 1956. The works found in the attic were auctioned off in 2009. Some of his paintings have been exhibited at London's National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.