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ID number:  BIRBI-2009.2
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Nevinson, Christopher Richard Wynne (1889-1946)
Title / Object name:  Returning to the Trenches
Object type:  Print
Place made:  London
Culture:  British
Date made:  1916
Materials:  Drypoint
Measurements:  Mount 15.2 x 20.2 cm
Provenance:  Bequeathed by Elnora Ferguson through the Art Fund.

The harnessed and disciplined army is reduced to a mass body of military machine. As a volunteer with the Red Cross in France and the Friends’ Ambulance Unit in London during the First World War, Nevinson was deeply disturbed by the war’s cruelty towards mankind. The depiction of the mechanized bodies, lacking sentimentality and individuality, becomes artist’s response to the social chaos of the time.
Nevinson was conscripted in First World War but was discharged from service due to illness and acted as an official war artist from 1917. He did not wish to glorify the war but to capture the horror he had experienced first-hand. Nevinson used the angular and mechanical imagery that he saw in the work of the Futurists to create a dynamic but unsettling depiction of soldiers on the frontline. The figures are fragmented and overlapping and the soldiers are dehumanised and fused into a single mass of limbs, weapons and earth.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Signed l.r. in pencil 'C.R.W. Nevinson / 1916'

Notes:  From an edition of 75.

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