First World War British painter Christopher Nevinson is being honoured by the Osborne Samuel gallery in Mayfair in the most comprehensive exhibition of his work since 1977, as Kat Hopps finds out
Marking the centenary of World War One, CRW Nevinson: A Printmaker in War & Peace will reveal the talents of the avant-guarde painter whose landscape paintings captured the horror of war and plight of its young soldiers in all its brutality.
Christopher, best known by his initials C.R.W (Christopher Richard Wynne), made 148 prints, etchings, drypoints, mezzotints and lithographs between 1916 and 1933, a large number of which will be on show at the exhibition, including Returning to the Trenches, 1916, Troops Resting, 1916 and That Cursed Wood, 1918.
The son of the war correspondent and journalist Henry Nevinson, Christopher was a member of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s Futurist group, who were attracted to speed, technology and modern warfare, before he joined the Friend’s Ambulance Unit as a pacifist in 1914.
After being invalided out of the army in January 1916 due to rheumatic fever, an exhibition of his paintings in September of that year caught the attention of chief war propagandist Charles Masterman of the War Propaganda Bureau who persuaded the artist to paint in an official capacity for the British government on the Western Front. This resulted in the huge body of work now on show and, thankfully, was largely uncensored thus bringing him to the attention of the British public.
His later works covered the dazzling sites of New York City and wonderful depictions of London life during the 1920s. Many of these pictures will be included in the exhibition such as London Bridges, c. 1920, London from Parliament Hill, c.1923, Waterloo Bridge from a Savoy Window, c.1924-26, Westminster from a Savoy Window, c.1924, and Leicester Square, c.1926-27, amongst others.
The exhibition runs from 25 September-18 October. A selection of prints will be available to buy in addition to the launch of a new book titled CRW Nevinson –The Complete Prints, the first comprehensive survey of Nevinson’s printmaking career. It is written by Dr Jonathan Black and co-published by Lund Humphries Publishing and Osborne Samuel gallery.
Exhibition runs from 25 September- 18 October 2014. 23a Bruton Street W1J 6QG; 020 7493 7939; osbornesamuel.com