Colours of Exile: The Art of Hans Schwarz

Opens 21 October 2017 to 3 March 2018

Free entry

‘Colours of Exile: The Art of Hans Schwarz’ features vibrant paintings of places and people by the Austrian émigré artist who made his home in London and West Somerset.

Colours of Exile

Hans Schwarz (1922–2003) was a child of Jewish heritage in pre-war Vienna and was sent to safety in England where he worked at the Cadbury factory in Bournville near Birmingham.

He was soon interned as an enemy alien but on his return to Birmingham he trained as an artist and became a successful illustrator.

But his first love was painting and after a period working in London, he and his family moved to Stogursey in Somerset where he worked full-time on painting, sculpture and writing.


Self Portrait by Hans Schwarz (Hans Schwarz Studio Collection)

Somerset was a major inspiration

This period was pivotal in his career. He completed many commissions and, while continuing to paint in oils, also discovered striking ways of using watercolour. Somerset was a major inspiration for Hans Schwarz, and many recognisable places and people feature in the exhibition.

Associated events

A Colourful Day –  Saturday 27 January, 11.00 am – 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm

Free family activities inspired by Schwarz’s landscape paintings

February half term 

Colour Trail – 10 – 17 February

Follow the trail and explore the museum. £1 per child.

Colourful Portraits – Monday 12 – Friday 16, 10.30 am – 1.00 pm & 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm
Hands-on family fun inspired by portraits in The Art of Hans Schwarz exhibition. £1 per child (age 3-11)

With grateful thanks

It is the first exhibition to bring together a representative cross-section of Schwarz’s works from public and private collections and includes paintings kindly loaned by The National Portrait Gallery and The University of Birmingham.

More online 

Discover more about Schwarz’s work in the National Portrait Gallery.

See the extensive collection of Schwarz’s work in the Birmingham University collections.

Also on now

Henry VII: The First Royal Portrait. An extraordinary image of the Tudor king to be displayed in Taunton Castle where he faced the rebel leader Perkin Warbeck. On loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Read more