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Oscar Nemon
(1906 — 1985)

Oscar Nemon was a British sculptor. Born in Osijek, now in Croatia, Nemon is said to have exhibited an early talent for drawing. As a teenager Nemon began to explore sculpture, modelling clay figures whilst continuing to draw. These early works, accomplished for an artist so young, were exhibited in 1923 and 1924 whilst Nemon was still at school. As a young adult, the artist moved to Vienna where he established a small studio for his sculpture. One of the first significant sculptures Nemon produced was of Topsy, the beloved dog of the famed psychologist Sigmund Freud who the artist would later sculpt to great acclaim. In 1925 the artist relocated to Brussels, Belgium to study at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts. He remained in Brussels for much of the 1920s and 1930s, where he shared a house with the surrealist artist René Magritte. His artistic output during this time included a number of large scale works which would later become public monuments to significant figures.


Nemon was a popular figure in the Belgian artistic community. He was commissioned to produce portraits of King Albert I and Queen Astrid of the Belgians, and participated in solo exhibitions at both the Académie and the Galerie Monteau in the mid- to late-1930s. Concerned by the onset of the Second World War, Nemon relocated to England in 1938 where he settled in the city of Oxford. In 1941 the artist established a studio in Oxford, exhibiting a number of works at Regent’s Park College the following year. He continued to sculpt portraits of great intellectual and artistic figures, consolidating his successful continental career in his adopted home of England. His appeal was such that the artist was commissioned to produce portraits of various members of the British Royal Family including Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen Mother. Nemon captured the likeness of significant war leaders in the 1940s and 1950s, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, and a number of political figures including Harry S. Truman and Margaret Thatcher. The artist’s best known work is his series depicting Winston Churchill, many of which remain on public display in locations such as in the House of Commons. A significant retrospective exhibition of Nemon’s work was held at the Ashmolean Museum in 1982.