A PIONEERING art gallerist who championed the work of unknown artists is having her collection displayed for the first time.

Lucy Wertheim opened a London gallery in 1930, which featured the works of young British creators, believing they should have the same opportunities as their European counterparts.

She believed the pieces could “hold their own” and deserved the chance to be seen.

Wertheim became a key figure of the art world, but has never had her story told.

The Argus: Staff at Towner preparing the exhibitionStaff at Towner preparing the exhibition

Now, two simultaneous exhibitions launching today at Towner art gallery in Eastbourne, will change that.

A Life In Art, and Reuniting The Twenties Group comprise 150 pieces to celebrate Wertheim’s impact on 20th century art, and the artists she championed.

She worked with notable names such as Edward Wadsworth, Frances Hodgkins and Christopher Wood between the two world wars, and lesser-known creators including a French postal worker and a bus driver who painted on old pillow cases.

Wertheim’s London gallery ran for nine years before it was converted to an air raid shelter at the start of the Second World War.

The Argus: Assistant curator Emily MeddAssistant curator Emily Medd

She moved to Brighton in the 1960s, and brought many exhibitions to it.

The Reuniting The Twenties Group display will feature works from artists who were all in their twenties when featured in Wertheim’s London gallery – a curation of work born from frustration that only established works were shown in exhibitions.

During her later life, one of the artists featured in the Twenties Group cared for Wertheim.

A Life In Art explores the close relationship Wertheim developed with her artists, and draws from her memoirs.

The Argus: Emily MeddEmily Medd

The exhibitions coincide with the opening of Towner’s new ground floor art space.

They run until September 25 and will also feature workshops aimed at young artists and the opportunity to discuss Wertheim’s life and works.

Towner itself has been displaying works for more than 100 years. Tickets to both Wertheim exhibitions are available via the gallery’s website.