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This audio clip is from an interview with Harry Weinberger by Cathy Courtney, 1995, Artists’ Lives, reference C466/37 track 15, ©The British Library.

In the clip, Harry talks about Heinz Koppel and describes the thought processes that went into Heinz’s work and the work itself. He mentions their relationship to the art establishment and how Heinz settled in Wales.

Heinz Koppel - Biography

Artist Heinz Koppel was born to Jewish parents in Berlin in 1919. After the Nazis came to power in Germany, they emigrated to Prague, Czechoslovakia, and later fled to the United Kingdom in 1938. His father, Joachim Koppel, founded and worked at the Aero Zipp factory at Treforest and Heinz studied art in London. His mother, Paula, had severe arthritis and was unable to leave with the rest of the family; she was eventually murdered in the Treblinka Extermination Camp. His cousin, Harry Weinberger, who had also fled Czechoslovakia, was also an artist and they had the same teacher in London.

From 1944, Heinz lived in Dowlais near Merthyr Tydfil where he taught art to children and adults. His artworks were inspired by the surrounding countryside and the industrial areas of Wales. In 1949, he married fellow artist Renate Fischl and they lived with their children in London and Liverpool before finally settling in Cwmerfyn, near Aberystwyth. He was one of the founding members of the 56 Group Wales, an artists’ organisation with the aim of promoting Welsh Modernist art and artists. Heinz died in 1980 aged 61.


Heinz [Koppel] was always far more interested than I in analysing work and his always had a psychological slant that had to reflect some very conscious... consciously inner states of mind—that sounds ghastly if I say it like that—but he was very introspective and very analytical about everything, not just his work.

And he had very delicate hands and delicate fingers, and his work had the same delicacy. And I thought it was quite unique.


We both felt that because of our background and everything that had happened, that we were outsiders and that we couldn’t somehow be accepted by the art establishment.


And then he bought an old farm in Wales, and finally he left teaching and settled in Wales in that farm, and turned it into his own little empire, where he produced very interesting and intricate paintings that I liked very much.


The British Library: Sounds, Weinberger, Harry. (15 of 20). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives [accessed 9 April 2022].

Depository: The British Library.

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