“Life and Art Through Stained Glass,” a new exhibit at the Ben Uri Gallery in London, examines the artistic career of architect, painter, designer and stained glass innovator Roman Halter (1927-2012). A survivor of the Holocaust, Halter channeled much of his creativity into narrating the horrors of that experience. It was essential to him that the truth was shared, especially with younger generations.
This current exhibition is a celebration of a remarkable man who, despite the darkest of childhoods, was “devoted to the design of pure color and light,” said curator Thomas Hughes. In featuring over 70 works, Ben Uri has successfully managed to portray the range, depth and skill of Halter’s extensive oeuvre.
Born in Chodecz, a small village in western Poland, Halter was the only member of his immediate family to survive the Lodz ghetto. After its liquidation in 1944, he was one of the metal workers selected for slave labor, but instead was transferred to Auschwitz. He was later moved to Dresden via the Stutthoff concentration camp and after the RAF raids in 1945, Halter escaped and returned to a deserted Chodecz.
In 1945 Halter came to London where he became an architect, establishing practices in London and Cambridge. In 1973 he moved to Israel where, using his architectural skills within a design context, he was commissioned to design and construct the main gate to Yad Vashem. On his return to London in 1976 he decided to become a full-time artist.