Graphic artist and painter, Jakub Bauernfreund, also known as Jacob Bornfriend, was born into a Jewish family in Zborov, Czechoslovakia on 25 October 1904. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague under the tutelage of Willi Nowak, developed an expressionistic style. In 1939, forced to flee his Nazi-occupied homeland, Bornfriend immigrated to Britain, losing much of his work in the process. Settling in London he became part of a group of émigré artists known as the Continental British School of Painting which also included Oskar Kokoschka. His work was exhibited at Bilbo’s Modern Art Gallery (in existence from 1941–48), the Czechoslovak Institute, London (1945), Roland, Browse & Delbanco 1950–54, 1959, 1961, 1964–5) and the Ben Uri Gallery (1974). In 1957 he was commissioned by architect Eugene Rosenberg to design a mural for Jews’ College, London (now the London School of Jewish Studies). By the late 1950s and 60s, Bornfriend had begun to focus on abstracting landscapes and still lifes using simplified, organic shapes in ambiguous space. His work from this period reveals his dialogue with the British abstractionists Patrick Heron and Peter Lanyon. Like these artists, he used rhythmic patterns to convey a certain buoyancy of spirit and to capture the 'the dynamism of abundance' which he perceived in the British landscape. Three such abstract compositions were included in the 1963 exhibition entitled 'Eight Contemporary Artists: Carol Burns, Harvey Daniels, Fred Feigl, Alfred Harris, Ben Levene, Fred Uhlman and Archibald Ziegler' at Ben Uri Art Gallery, 14 Berners Street. He also served as a member of Ben Uri's Arts Committee in 1962–68. Jacob Bornfriend died in London, England on 8 November 1976.





  • Jews' College, London (mural designer)



  • Czech Routes: Selected Czechoslovak Artists in Britain from the Ben Uri and Private Collections, Ben Uri Gallery and Museum (2019)
  • Art Exit: A Very Different Europe, Europe House in association with Ben Uri Gallery and Museum (2019)
  • Forced Journeys: Artists in Exile in Britain c. 1933-1945, Ben Uri Gallery and Museum (2009)
  • Jacob Bornfriend, Bratislava City Art Gallery (2008)
  • Four Exiled Artists: Jacob Bornfriend, Eugen Hersch, Alfred Lomnitz and Else Meidner, John Denham Gallery, London (1990)
  • The Immigrant Generations: Jewish artists in Britain, 1900-1945, The Jewish Museum, New York (1983)
  • Jacob Bornfriend, Bedford Way Gallery, The University of London Institute of Education (1980)
  • Jewish Artists of Great Britain, Belgrave Gallery, London and Cartwright Hall Art Gallery and Museum, Bradford (1978)
  • Jacob Bornfriend and Alfred Harris, Ben Uri Art Gallery (1974)
  • Jacob Bornfriend and Alfred Harris, Orebro Lans Museum and Dalarnas Museum, Sweden (1973)
  • Jacob Bornfriend and Alfred Harris, Falum Museum, Sweden (1972)
  • Jacob Bornfriend and Alfred Harris, Uppsala Arts Festival (1971)
  • Jacob Bornfriend and Alfred Harris, Sodertalje Museum, Sweden (1970)
  • Jacob Bornfriend, Oil Paintings - Joan Eardley, Pastels, Roland Browse & Delbanco (1964)
  • Eight Contemporary Artists, Ben Uri Art Gallery (1963)
  • Solo exhibition, Gummesons Konstgalleri, Stockholm (1963)
  • Solo exhibition, Gallery 54, Göteborg (1962)
  • Norman Adams: Bornfriend, Roland, Browse & Delbanco (1961)
  • Twelve Contemporary Artists, Ben Uri Gallery, London (1958)
  • Recent paintings by Jacob Bornfriend and Bernard Dunstan, Roland, Browse & Delbanco (1956)
  • Recent paintings by Jacob Bornfriend and Leonard Rosoman, Roland Browse & Delbanco (1954)
  • Recent paintings by Jacob Bornfriend: Cyclist drawings by Peter Startup, Roland Browse and Delbanco (1952)