Wartime London: Olympia from Kensington High Street, 1940, oil on board, £3500 at Abbott and Holder.

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He joined the Communist party aged 20, writing that his political education was “the Spanish Civil War, the Depression, the rise of Fascism and mass unemployment”.

However, by the 1960s he had broken with the party over a series of paintings. These were pictures of London construction sites completed with abstract forms. The party disapproved – it expected its members to pursue social realism in their pictures. So Marks, further put off by the Soviet invasion of Hungary, left the party in 1956.

Several of the offending works can be seen at the show, opening on November 17 at the central London gallery.


London Construction Site by Gerald Marks, c.1955, oil on canvas, £1750 at Abbott and Holder.

Though rarely featured at auction, Marks was active throughout his life, serving in the RAF’s Photographic Unit, studying at the Central School of Art (preferred over the ‘elitist’ Royal College) and later teaching art. In the 1970s he moved to France, continuing to paint and exhibit.

The show at Abbott and Holder offers an introduction to his works including scenes of wartime London, still-lifes and total abstracts, all from the artist’s estate.