The War Artists

'I am no longer an artist, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on for ever. Feeble, inarticulate will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.'

 

 Paul Nash, November 1917

 

The War Artists is the most comprehensive account of the British official war art schemes from their beginnings in 1916 to the Falklands War - a unique experiment in Government patronage which produced an unrivalled national collection of some 12,000 paintings, drawings and pieces of sculpture.

 

Artists as varied and eminent as Paul Nash, Henry Moore, Wyndham Lewis, Graham Sutherland, Jacob Epstein, L.S. Lowry, Mervyn Peake and over two hundred others were sent to every theatre of war - to trench, jungle and desert. This book explains how and why they came to be employed, and from official and personal correspondence, diaries, memories and interviews, documents their individual experiences - at Passchendaele, Dunkirk and D-Day, at the opening of Belsen and the Nuremberg Trials, in the Falls Road and at Goose Green.

 

The book was published in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum and the Tate - the principal holders of this extraordinary collection.

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