Modern & Contemporary Prints | 11 December 2013

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Lot no.


Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889-1946) - La Guerre Des Trous

Sold for £110000

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889-1946)

La Guerre Des Trous

p en and ink and brush and ink with wash on paper, signed lower right in blackish/brown ink, on smooth wove paper,
sheet 153 x 183 mm (6 x 7 ΒΌ in)

Provenance: Private Collection, UK

⁂La Geurre des Trous (the War of H oles) depicts soldier ' s anticipation, presumably in a moment before they exit the trench; the men contained in pockets, clearly at readiness for action of some description. The ink drawing differs from the oil in a number of subtle areas, most notable i n the oil is the missing rifle in the soldier at far right, quite possibly this element of the current work was suppressed in the finished painting.

The present lot shares a similar construction to a pen and ink drawing recently sold of La Mitrailleuse (see Lot 200 Sotheby's London 19.11.2008), the use of cross hatching to depict shading on the wooden beams and the fluid lines making up the barbed wire are almost identical. This approach is reminiscent of the manner in which Nevinson added shading in his drypoints, and is a stylistic approach that does not extend to his oil paintings.

Drawn at the same time as La Mitrailleuse (1914/15), La Geurre de Trous again represents French troops behind the lines. Instantly recognisable in their stiff felt Kepi Hats (headwear rapidly replaced in late 1915 by the steel Adrian Helmet in order to provide greater protection) the French soldiers depicted in the work enabled Nevinson to portray the grimmer side of the war thus dodging Government restrictions placed on imagery of active British servicemen.

The comparisons between La Mitrailleuse and La Geurre de Trous extend beyond those of just the nationality of the participants. Nevinson was stationed for two and a half months from November 1914, in Woesten, just North-West of Ypres, and this location served as the source material for his earliest war images. Looking at specific elements within both works, it seems quite possible that these works share the same location, albeit drawn from different perspectives. Perhaps most notable is the distinctive wooden shoring that supports the trench in both works, this particular bracing was unusual, and clearly was put in place because of soft ground in a specific area. Both also share the same fluid structure of the barbed wire, which snakes, wave-like across the upper portion of both images, and it seems quite possible that this similarity was intentional, enabling the artist to continue a 'story' across the two works.

Modern & Contemporary Prints

Wednesday 11 December 2013, 2.00pm

Bloomsbury London
Bloomsbury House
24 Maddox Street


Saturday 7th December 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Sunday 8th December 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Monday 9th December 9.30am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 10th December 9.30am - 8.00pm
Day of sale from 9.30am

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