See This: Hans Unger at The Highgate Society


It’s a big week for art in London, what with the ticket-of -the-week event that is Frieze (contemporary art) and Frieze Masters (older stuff), contemporary and decorative art fair Pad and all manner of additional exhibitions opening to piggy back onto the week’s arty footfall (looking at you Mademoiselle Prive at The Saatchi Gallery). If you fancy a weekend of culture, then also consider The Fabric of India at the V&A (heading to that soon for TWR so don’t panic if you can’t go), Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy of Arts (def book ahead with this one) and our favourite octogenarian painter Bridget Riley at The Courtauld Gallery. Damien Hirst’s new gallery in Lambeth has also opened this week, with an exhibition of abstract artist John Hoyland’s inspiring and gorgeously covetable blocks of colour. The Giacometti: Pure Presence gets great reviews too, over at The National.

As well as all these riches, the private galleries such as Sadie Coles (I quite fancy seeing Hilary Lloyd’s Robot), Marian Goodman (showing William Kentridge, which looks interesting), The Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth (intriguing paintings  by Anj Smith) and many more are all looking their best for the biggest art week in the autumn calendar. And of course, these are all free.

But if you are here, or you are a local, can we also recommend the smaller but still delightful exhibition of post war graphic and poster artist Hans Unger’s work on at the Highgate Gallery too? Hans Unger designed many beautiful mosaics and posters for the London Underground, of which my favourite is the Black Horse Road tube station (see below). All the images here are Unger’s work.


Although little fuss has been made of him, Unger has a dedicated fan base, including folk legend Richard Thompson, who used to work for him, and they have organised a centenary celebration of his birth with this exhibition.


The posters are richly charming and full of characterful representations of London life as it was in the 50s, 60s and 70s. The posters fill me with a nostalgic rush of joy, and I’d just as happily have one of these posters on my wall as an expensive bit of modern art. The exhibition is open until the 28th October, check here for details.


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