Sculptor and printmaker Bruno Simon was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria on 21 January 1913. He studied art with the painter Julius Bissier in Freiburg, Germany, and later, sculpture under Maillol and Mallfray, at the Académie Rason in Paris; he also spent time in Florence and Carrara, before moving to England in August 1939 upon the eve of the outbreak of the Second World War. Following the introduction of internment of so-called 'enemy aliens' in Britain in June 1940, he was sent to a Commonwealth camp in Australia on board the former 'S. S. Dunera'. In Tatura and Hay internment camps between 1940 and 1943, he produced monotypes, drawings and sculpture, sometimes, using clay from under the internees’ huts for modelling. Roger Butler has written about Simon’s work at this time: ‘Like much of Hirschfeld Mack’s camp art, there is an underlying sense of spirituality and desire for a unified humanity in Simon’s work [...] For Simon, the ultimate desire for love, over[rode] cultural and religious differences.' Many of his monotypes from this period, including those referencing Hitler, others of fellow refugees, and a series called Tatura Dreams, have been collected in the Centre for Australian Art. After release, Simon spent four years in the 8th Employment Company of the Citizens Military Force and in 1948 with his two sculptures, Boy's Head (aka David), and Chinese Girl (both now Ben Uri Collection), he was a finalist for the Wynne Prize for Art in New South Wales.
In 1949 Simon returned to England, where he took part in the Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Jewish Painters and Sculptors at Ben Uri in 1950, followed by a three artist exhibition, 'Michel Kikoine (Paintings and Water Colours), Zechariahu Erlichman (Water Colours), Bruno Simon (Sculpture) in 1951, when his sculptures were praised in the Jewish Chronicle for their 'freshness'. He also exhibited at the Institut Français in London in 1955 and the Jewish Chronicle again commended him as ‘a quiet craftsman, modelling or carving directly or in the abstract according to the problem he is faced with’. His work was also included in exhibitions at the Rothschild Cultural Centre, London (1959) and St John’s Wood Communal Centre (1962). He continued to travel frequently, and in 1967, settled in Italy, with regular visits to Australia in 1973 and 1993. Bruno Simon died in Italy on 16 September 1999. In the UK his work is held in the Ben Uri Collection and in Nottingham City Museums & Galleries, as well as in the Centre for Australian Art in Melbourne.