Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
Prints of War and Peace

 
24 July – 23 September 2018

Free

A Dawn, 1914, 1916, drypoint 1918,0219.5  



This display commemorates the centenary of Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson’s gift of twenty-five of his prints to the British Museum in 1918. It celebrates his graphic work, which was often considered superior to his paintings.

The majority of the prints shown here are a selection from the gift, documenting Nevinson’s experiences during the First World War in Flanders and northern France. Also on display are prints created after the war when Nevinson made his first visit to New York producing some of his most dynamic urban cityscapes. Shown alongside are the artist’s later prints of Paris, a city he held in great affection as well as two of his most evocative lithographs of London.

Nevinson began making prints in 1916. However just as critical acclaim for his graphic work reached its height in the late 1920s, he was forced to give up printmaking for health reasons. Nevinson produced around a hundred and fifty prints, many of which are smaller versions of his paintings. He often made a smaller sketch of a painting in order to see how it would appear in print form.

By the 1930s it was clear that Nevinson had become a ‘celebrity’ artist, often appearing in the popular press giving his opinion or writing articles on various topics of the day. In 1937 he published his highly entertaining autobiography, Paint and Prejudice. Suffering from ill health towards the end of his life he had two strokes and died in 1946. Nevinson never really retained the status that he had achieved in the early part of his career and as his paintings became more conventional his reputation suffered. Yet his stark black and white images of the First World War retain a power that still resonates today and are testament to Nevinson’s natural gifts as a printmaker.