Erica Brausen was born in Dusseldorf in 1908. After completing her education and with the rise of Hitler she left for Paris in the 1930s. She worked in a bookshop and began to organise displays of contemporary art. A friendship with the Catalan artist Joan Miro led her to Majorca where she ran a bar which was frequented by writers and artists. During the Spanish Civil War she used her contacts with the US navy to help some of her Jewish and socialist friends to escape and slipped away herself on a fishing boat. She arrived, penniless, in London about the time of the outbreak of the Second World War.
In London she met again many of her former friends and began organising small art exhibitions but, as a German citizen, she was not able to work until a homosexual friend agreed to marry her to give her status. Her first real work in London began with the Redfern Gallery. Then in 1946 she met an American millionaire banker, Arthur Jeffress and he offered to finance her in a gallery of her own.
She opened the Hanover Gallery in late 1947 at 32A, St George Street, just off Hanover Square, London, dealing in 19th and 20th century masters and contemporary British and foreign artists. In 1949 the British Government lifted an earlier ban on the importation of works of art for sale and the gallery quickly took advantage of this and grasped the opportunity to sell work by a wide range of continental and American artists. In 1956 Jean-Yves Mock joined the staff as her assistant. He proved to be a brilliant administrator.
The gallery particularly promoted sculpture with several exhibitions of works by Reg Butler, Alberto Giacometti, Eduardo Paolozzi and Marino Marini. Major painters shown included Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland and William Scott, but young and relatively unknown artists were also encouraged. Brausen also regularly displayed works by the surrealist artists Duchamp, Ernst, Man Ray and Magritte. For financial reasons the gallery was forced to close on 1st January 1973.