Barbara Dorf

Barbara Dorf

Barbara Dorf – A True Eccentric "Barbara Esther Dorf was born into a North London Jewish middle class family in November 1933. Her father was a Polish furrier whose business was bombed during the war. From the North London Collegiate she won a scholarship to the Slade. Ever with few funds she sat as a nude model, taught at the Ruskin and in several girls’ boarding schools. She became a Catholic at 20 on her father’s death and her faith informed her beliefs and her work. This is revealed in her Mother and Child series and the Crucifixions. The Balkans never ceased to fascinate her, especially Montenegro and Serbia; their forbidding mountains appear among paintings in this sale. Her base for 50 years was 11 Pembridge Villas, just off Notting Hill Gate, a studio flat with high ceilings and good light. Amid the surroundings of her Balkan kitchen, a work of art in its own right, conversation flowed and guests overflowed from chairs to her bed. At one party I remember coming face to face with both Ernst Gombrich and Irish Murdoch. On another occasion it was Kenneth Branagh. We kept up a correspondence for over 30 years and her insight on art, literature and politics was always original and sharp. She talked about having a literary executor, when I admitted to keeping her letters. Her diary, one publisher said was actionable and unprintable! It is perhaps pertinent for her and for us that the Guardian refused to write an obituary as the editor of the obit page could not find her on Google. I will never know why she wanted me to have her works when she died. David and I have several of her paintings both at Quenington and in Romania. I was honoured to be asked to look after the future for her art work on which she placed no strings. Her eclectic collection of paintings and drawings offer an extraordinary insight into the character and quality of a remarkable person." Lucy Abel Smith September 2016

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