Houses of Ypres by A.Y. Jackson
The painting above is by the Canadian artist, A.Y. Jackson. Jackson was one of six official Canadian war artists who worked for the Canadian War Memorials Fund. The other artists were Maurice Cullen, Kenneth Forbes, C.W. Jefferys, Arthur Lismer, and Frederick H. Varley. Research their lives and locate some of the official First World War art that they produced.
Another Canadian artist, Mary Riter Hamilton, created a series of paintings resulting from her visiting the Western Front at the end of the war. Hamilton recorded what she saw through her paintings. Investigate her life and the paintings she made during this time.
Just as the Canadians had their official war artists, so did the U.S. Army. Eight artists were commissioned by the U.S. Engineer Corps. These included: W.J.Aylward, W.J. Duncan, H.T. Dunn, G.M. Harding, W. Morgan, E.C. Peixotto, J. Andre Smith,and H.E. Townsend. Prepare a report on this group of artists. Include works of art prepared as part of their U.S. Army commission.
Locate the French artist Georges Leroux’s work, L’Enfer (Hell) and write a description of the painting. L’Enfer was a recollection of Leroux’s seeing a group of French soldiers taking shelter in a great shell-hole full of water.
An Irishman, William Orpen, was commissioned by the British War Propaganda Bureau to paint the portraits of a number of notable figures, including Winston Churchill. Orpen was also sent to the Western Front to paint what he saw. Some of his notable paintings coming from that appointment included: Dead Germans in a Trench, Members of the Allied Press Corps, Ready to Start, and The Signing of Peace. Orpen was also asked to paint the portraits of politicians participating in the Versailles Peace Conference. Instead he chose to paint To the Unknown British Soldier in France as a protest to the war. Research Orpen’s career as a painter and the controversy which he initiated because of his beliefs.
David Bomberg, a British citizen, was commissioned by the Canadians to paint a picture to commemorate a military action at Saint-Eloi. The work was rejected because of its futuristic style. Locate the painting, Sappers at Work, and write a critique of it.
Select an artist from the list below and write briefly on his life. In addition, select one or two of his works that relate directly to the First World War and report on the work(s) of art. Comment on each of these elements:
- Subject matter: What objects/characters are part of the art piece?
- Colors: What colors are used? How do they enhance the subject matter?
- Composition: How does the artist use color, line, shape and texture in the piece?
- Perspective: Where does your eye go when viewing the work?
- Adjectives: What adjectives would you use to describe the piece?
- Meaning: How would you interpret the meaning of the piece?