1914 - 1918 The Great War through Printmakers’ Eyes
An exhibition organised by Elizabeth Harvey-Lee
of artists’ etchings, lithographs and woodcuts of the First World War
Court Barn Museum, Chipping Campden
Sat 4 October – Sunday 12 October
Open daily 10am – 4pm (closed Monday 6)
JAMES McBEY (1883 – 1959)
The Somme Front
Drypoint, 1917. 170 x 368 mm
Incongruous activities that making war and making art might seem, the Great War
generated more art than any other war before or since and prints formed an important
part of that production; the intrinsic ‘graphic’ nature of printed images lending itself
to expression of the theme.
The two earlier major examples of art about war, Jacques Callot’s Miseries of War and
Goya’s Disasters of War were both carried out as series of prints.
MAX BECKMANN (1884 – 1950)
In Memory of a Friend killed in Action
A portrait of Captain Martin Tube, Company Commander of the 59th Infantry Regiment
Wounded at the Battle of Tannenberg in August. Killed at Zwangorod 11 October 1914.
(Beckmann and Martin Tube’s sister had married in 1908)
Lithograph, 1914. 300 x 250 mm
In the Great War the initial call for volunteers and the subsequent general conscription,
meant that many artists, along with every other trade and profession, served as soldiers
and experienced first-hand fighting at the front. Being artists they also sketched at the front.
Artists who were printmakers used their leave, or in some cases their convalescence, back
at home to transpose their sketches into etchings, lithographs or woodcuts; to avail
themselves of studio facilities to print editions; and to organise exhibitions of their work.
Home-based artists found subject matter in the newly introduced anti-zeppelin searchlights,
the Red Cross and other nursing activities.
WILLIAM THOMAS WOOD (1877 – 1958)
Searchlights over London 1915
Lithograph, 1915. 400 x 542 mm
The Great War was remarkable for its many ‘firsts’, reflected in the name it is more
generally known by today.
However, not only was it the first World war, fought simultaneously on several fronts,
involving many nationalities, it was also the first mechanised war, dominated by artillery,
resulting as never before in mass carnage, the ruination of towns and villages and
devastation of the landscape.
It was the first in which civilians were subject to air raids; the first with aerial combat and
submarine warfare; the first to use the tank and gas as weapons; that saw the introduction
of the tin hat and the invention of dazzle camouflage.
Equally it was the first war in which women played an important role, not just as nurses
but in replacing men in the factories and on the land, so that for practical reasons skirt lengths
shortened and they began to wear trousers.
It was the first to touch every household nation-wide.
It was the first to establish commemoration of the dead in war memorials.
William Lionel Wyllie (1851 – 1931)
An Onshore Naval Gun Detachment
Etching, with an added pencil and watercolour drawing
of a signal hoist of flags. 204 x 252 mm
The selection of prints in this exhibition aims to show the wide range and rich variety of
themes which the war evoked, and makes reference to most of the above-listed
defining aspects of the Great War.
PAUL NASH (1889 – 1946)
The Mine Crater, Hill 60, Ypres Salient
Original lithograph, 1917. 352 x 455 mm
In addition to the work of British artists, the selection also includes prints by French, American,
Canadian, German, Austrian and Czech artists.
MAURICE BUSSET (1881 – 1936)
The Aerial Division supporting the Infantry in the Battle of the Somme, 1918
Lithograph, 1919. 271 x 449 mm (image)
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue (offered at the special price of £10 at the exhibition).
A fully illustrated quarto paperback, it has 108 pages, 156 illustrations of which 26 are in colour.
A short introductory essay is followed by details of 99 items, 91 of which are for sale.
Price £15 by post directly from Elizabeth Harvey-Lee, 1 West Cottages, North Aston, OX25 5QB.
Tel: 01869 347164 Email: email@example.com