We Honour Remembrance Day 2019 with War Artists
On Remembrance Day we respectfully pause to reflect on the sacrifice of the military, their families, the victims, casualties and society as a whole make during War.
Many artists have responded to the horrors, injustice and violence of war through art. Picasso's famous La Guernica was his response to the Spanish Civil War and the bombing of a Basque town. Many other artists, including Canadians, have also officially and unofficially produced art that has illuminated war and their responses to it.
On April 26, 1937, the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain was bombed by Hitler's Luftwaffe in the midst of a bloody civil war on behalf of Francisco Franco's rebel forces. Twenty-four hours later, the village lay in ruins, its population decimated. This act of terror and unspeakable cruelty – the first large-scale attack against civilians in modern warfare –outraged the world, and one man in particular. Pablo Picasso, an expatriate living in Paris, responded to the devastation in his homeland by beginning work on Guernica, a painting that many today consider the greatest artwork of the twentieth century. See also Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon.
"From 1500 to 1825, Europe remained in an almost perpetual state of war. Religion, politics, economics, and dynastic ambition all played a role in the turmoil that spread across the continent. War-related printed images also proliferated during this time, serving a variety of functions--commemorative, propagandistic, iconic, narrative, eulogistic, critical, or instructional."
"In times of crisis, we often turn to artists for truth-telling and memory-keeping. There is no greater crisis than war, and in this sumptuously illustrated volume, we find a comprehensive visual, cultural, and historical account of the ways in which armed conflict has been represented by artists. Covering the last two centuries, from the Crimean War to the present day, the book shows how the artistic portrayal of war has changed, from a celebration of heroic exploits to a more modern, troubled, and perhaps truthful depiction of warfare and its consequences."
"This important book looks at the range of artwork created before, during, and following the war, in the years between 1859 and 1876. Author Eleanor Jones Harvey examines the implications of the war on landscape and genre painting, history painting, and photography, as represented in some of the greatest masterpieces of 19th-century American art." See also Civil War Sketch Book: Drawings From The Battlefront.
"Kollwitz imbued her prints, drawings, and sculpture with eloquent and often painful commentary on the human condition, especially the horrors of war. This insightful book, the first English-language catalogue on Kollwitz in more than two decades, offers the singular opportunity to examine her work against the tumultuous backdrop of World Wars I and II. The societal cost of war became an enduring subject for Kollwitz after her youngest son died on the battlefield in Flanders in 1914. She dedicated much of the remainder of her career to creating images that questioned the efficacy of war, exposed its devastation, and promoted peace."
"The First World War began on July 28, 1914, 100 years ago, and lasted until November 11, 1918. From the start, photography and film played decisive roles in the media and governmental presentation of this unprecedentedly global conflict."
"Drawing on a wide range of sources, [Fox] examines the cultural activities of largely forgotten individuals and institutions, as well as the press and the government, in order to shed new light on art's unusual role in a nation at war. He argues that the conflict's artistic consequences, though initially disruptive, were ultimately and enduringly productive. He reveals how the war effort helped forge a much closer relationship between the British public and their art."
"The commission Farrell received from the Corporation of Glasgow to produce 50 drawings of the front line and munitions factories in the city to record the war for posterity was extraordinary. He was unique in being the only war artist to be commissioned by a city rather than by the government, Imperial War Museum or armed forces."
"Much of how World War I is understood today is rooted in the artistic depictions of the brutal violence and considerable destruction that marked the conflict. Nothing but the Clouds Unchanged examines how the physical and psychological devastation of the war altered the course of twentieth-century artistic Modernism. Following the lives and works of fourteen artists before, during, and after the war, this book demonstrates how the conflict and the resulting trauma actively shaped artistic production."
"A vivid, engaging account of the artists and artworks that sought to make sense of America's first total war, Grand Illusions takes readers on a compelling journey through the major historical events leading up to and beyond US involvement in WWI to discover the vast and pervasive influence of the conflict on American visual culture." See also World War I and American Art.
"From the massive canvases painted by official war artists to the tiniest of personal sketches by amateur soldiers, Witness: Canadian Art of the First World War examines how Canadians captured their First World War experiences, both at home and overseas, in a variety of different ways."
"The Canadian War Memorials Exhibition opened in the galleries of the Royal Academy in Burlington House in January 1919. Featuring four hundred paintings and sculptures depicting the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War, the exhibition became the gala event of the London art season."
"What force of will and circumstance drove a woman with a burgeoning art career following years of study in European art schools from a comfortable life to one of hardship and loneliness in the battle zones of France and Belgium following the Great War? For western Canadian artist Mary Riter Hamilton (1868 1954), art was her life's passion. Her tale is one of tragedy and adventure, from homestead beginnings, to genteel drawing rooms in Winnipeg, Victoria, and Vancouver, to Berlin and Parisian art schools, to Vimy and Ypres, and finally to illness and poverty in old age."
"The idea that launched the Sampson - Matthews project was simple: get Canada's best painters to contribute to the war effort by creating new works in conjunction with the Canadian National gallery. Launched at the start of the second world war, the project ended up running for 22 years, costing 10 million dollars and containing work from all of Canada's great artists. Containing full colour reproduction of 112 silkscreens by eminent Canadian artists such as David Milne, Emily Carr and B.C.Binning." See also Canadian Artists and Airmen, 1940-45: A Wartime Memoir.
"During the pivotal decades leading up to World War II and throughout the war, important Surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, André Masson, Joan Miró, Wolfgang Paalen, and Yves Tanguy--some of whom had served as soldiers in World War I--responded through their works to the repression and violence attending the rise of Hitler and the spread of Fascism in Europe. In this engrossing volume, essays by experts in the field and more than 130 color images showcase the experimental and international extent of Surrealist art during these years." See also Farewell to the Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism.
"The First World War had a great impact on British modernism and twentieth-century art. This book examines how the British state recruited some of its most controversial artists to produce official art as part of propaganda and how their work gave witnessed testimony to the trauma of a war that later generations would redeem in acts of remembrance."
"World Wars I and II changed the globe on a scale never seen before or since, and from these terrible conflicts came an abundance of photographs, drawings, and other artworks attempting to make sense of the turbulent era. In this generously illustrated book, Catherine Speck provides a fascinating account of women artists during wartime in America, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and their visual responses to war, both at the front lines and on the home front."
"Art and the Second World War is the first book in English to provide a comprehensive and detailed international overview of the complex and often disturbing relationship between war and the fine arts during this crucial period of modern history. This generously illustrated volume starts by examining the art produced in reaction to the Spanish Civil War (often viewed as "the first battle of World War II"), and then looks at painting, sculpture, prints, and drawing in each of the major combatant nations, including Japan and China."
"Explores the activism of the Polish-born artist through 38 politically incisive works that underscore Szyk's role as a kind of 'one man army' fighting odious policies and protagonists and advocating civil and human rights."
"New Yorker cartoonist and painter Joseph Farris chronicles his experience in World War II through letters and sketches that he wrote at the time." See also The Two Thousand Yard Stare: Tom Lea’s World War II.
"Through the centuries, women have used textiles to express their ideas and political opinions, creating items of utility that also function as works of art. In each case traditional women's work served to document the upheaval in their lives. By creating textiles that responded to the chaos of war, women created a vehicle to express their feelings."
"By the late 1960s, the United States was in a pitched conflict in Vietnam, against a foreign enemy, and at home--between Americans for and against the war and the status quo. This powerful book showcases how American artists responded to the war, spanning the period from Lyndon B. Johnson's fateful decision to deploy US Marines to South Vietnam in 1965 to the fall of Saigon ten years later." See also Mekong Diaries: Viet Cong Drawings and Stories, 1964-1975.