‘La Guerre des Trous’ ‘The War of Holes’ - New World Record for Drawing by Christopher Nevinson A poignant first World War drawing by official War Artist for the British Government, Christopher Nevinson, set a new world record for a work on paper by the artist at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auction’s
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‘La Guerre des Trous’ ‘The War of Holes’
New World Record for Drawing by British War Artist,
Christopher Nevinson, at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
A poignant first World War drawing by official War Artist for the British Government, Christopher Nevinson, set a new world record for a work on paper by the artist at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auction’s sale of Modern and Contemporary Prints on Wednesday 11th December. It was purchased by a by a private collector in New York for £136,400, breaking the record already held by the auctioneer.
Alexander Hayter, International Head of Modern & Contemporary Art at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have again broken the world record for a work by Nevinson on paper. In December 2012 we set the record for his drawing, ‘On the Road to Ypres,’ which sold for £111,600. The price achieved on Wednesday for a work by this remarkable artist shows that we still lead the market for the sale of Nevinson’s work.”
‘La Guerre des Trous’ (the War of Holes) by the Futurist/Vorticist artist was a moving tribute to the troops by an artist who was deeply affected by his experience caring for injured French soldiers as a member of the Friends' Ambulance Unit, during the first World War. Arguably the finest work on paper by the artist to have appeared at auction in a generation, the drawing depicts the soldiers’ anticipation, presumably in the moment before they exited the trench. By portraying French soldiers, Nevinson was able to reveal the grimmer side of the war whilst dodging Government restrictions placed on imagery of active British servicemen.
The pen and ink, and brush and ink, drawing was done in 1914/15 possibly at Woesten, just North-West of Ypres, where Nevinson was stationed for two ½ months from November 1914.
Christopher Martin, a specialist on works by Nevinson, said: “Nevinson wrote of intending to give his pictures of that time an abstract, dynamic and mental impression rather than a concrete, static or optical. The abstract quality is seen in the shaping of the earth around the trench in this drawing, and generally in other drawings related to Nevinson’s war paintings.” [Lot 13]
A Nevinson etching entitled ‘The Thames from Blackfriars’ also achieved a solid price of £39,680 against an estimate of £15,000 – 20,000. It was almost certainly the largest intaglio work by the artist and was based on a painting currently part of the Courtauld Collection, London. [Lot 12]
Elsewhere in the sale, an extremely rare and integral part of the last great series of works produced by American Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein, a screenprint entitled ‘Two Nudes’ realised a strong price of £124,000. Of the recent impressions offered at auction, this example was in the best condition and was purchased on the telephone by a London based private collector.
Based on love and girls in comic books, ‘The Nudes’ series, begun in the spring of 1993, are