During the 1950s and 60s, Wolf Mankowitz was a household name, famous as a novelist, playwright, journalist and producer. His first two books, A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS and EXPRESSO BONGO, were both made into successful films and he found himself in constant demand for short stories, newspaper columns and TV appearances. He hosted a political chat show and was simultaneously producing and writing TV drama, movies, stage plays and musicals.
The film version of his play, THE BESPOKE OVERCOAT, won an Academy Award for best short subject at the 29th Academy Awards in 1957. He worked with acting legends from Laurence Olivier and Paul Schofield to Charles Laughton and Orson Welles. He scripted THE MILLIONAIRESS for Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren, and THE WALTZ OF THE TOREADORS for Sellers. He wrote the adaption of PICKWICK for Harry Secombe, which wowed the West End and transferred to Broadway.
He also is important as the instigator of the BOND movies, having introduced Cubby Broccoli to Harry Saltzman, as well as writing the original script for DR NO and contributing to the script of the comedy Bond film, CASINO ROYALE (1967).
He spent the last 10 years of his life in Ireland, where he completed his last novel, EXQUISITE CADAVER, a mystery story about a Dadaist and Surrealist artist, and then turned his own considerable energies to collage art, working in the same mode as his fictional character.
Having had its heyday in the wake of the First World War, Dadaism continued to resonate with artists and writers throughout the twentieth century. It fascinated Mankowitz the political and social commentator with its satirical representations of the meaninglessness of modern life.
Dadaism influenced the works of visual artists such as Max Ernst and Salvador Dali, and dramatists such as Antonin Artaud, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet and Eugene O'Neill. It was the perfect creative medium for Mankowitz, a writer so full of invention and original ideas, whose work had, throughout his career, been so intimately connected with the visual arts, from cinema to ceramics. (A man of many talents, Mankowitz had originally made his mark in the world of antique and modern ceramics, rising to become one of the UK's foremost authorities on pottery and publishing several books on the subject).
These collages have been in the possession of the Mankowitz estate since 1998, and have never before been exhibited. The estate is thrilled to be collaborating with Patrick Robbins at the Fleet Gallery in St Leonards. For many years, the Mankowitz family had a country home only a few miles outside the town.
Follow this link for the BBC S.E Today feature on the exhibition by Robin Gibson - https://youtu.be/fp9cIFeX52c