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The Road from Arras to Bapaume

Christopher R. W. Nevinson1917

Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums

Nevinson’s portrayal of the British supply route between Arras and Bapaume, with its soft contours and restrained palette, followed the traditions of English landscape painting. It was consistent with his change in style in 1917, forgoing the earlier influences of Italian Futurism. Even so, the road stretching beyond the horizon through bleak, featureless terrain was very much the artist’s own invention, shaped by the reality of the Western Front.While employed in an official war artist Nevinson’s work came under the close scrutiny of the War Office censor, Major A N Lee. Lee objected to the painting’s initial portrayal of a left-hand traffic flow - the correct alignment on the Western Front was to the right. On this occasion Nevinson dutifully repainted the vehicles. But when Lee tried to supress later works he found the artist considerably less compliant, culminating in the controversial self-censorship of Nevinson’s painting Paths of Glory in 1918.

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Details

  • Title: The Road from Arras to Bapaume
  • Creator: Nevinson, C R W (ARA)
  • Date Created: 1917
  • Location: Arras, Pas-de-Calais, France
  • related people or organisations: British Army
  • provenance: Imperial War Museum purchase under terms of Nevinson's commission with the Ministry of Information
  • period: First World War
  • Subject: roads,  landscape,  military personnel,  military vehicles, British Army 1914-1918,  Western Front 1914-1918
  • Physical Dimensions: w457 x h609 mm (unframed)
  • Type: painting
  • External Link: Imperial War Museum website
  • Medium: oil

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