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C. R. W. Nevinson | Modern War (1917) | signed

Price £995.00 Sale


Paintings By


GRANT RICHARDS Ltd, London, 1917 (First Edition)

The very rare WW1 first edition of Modern War, by C. R. W. Nevinson, published by Grant Richards Ltd in 1917, and complete with its ultra rare original dust jacket. The book includes an introductory essay by the art critic P. G. Konody, a colour frontispiece ‘A Column on the March’ signed by Nevinson, and 24 monochrome plates by Nevinson, all featuring his work as a war artist during the First World War. The plates include several of Nevinson’s most celebrated works, such as ‘The Mitrailleuse’, ‘A Taube’, ‘A Star Shell’, and ‘Troops Resting’. In the paintings reproduced in this book Nevinson was moving away from the Futurist style towards a more naturalistic, journalistic approach that developed as the reality of war challenged Futurism’s ideals. Futurism glorified warfare and the machine, and these views are partly echoed in Nevinson’s work. While serving in France and Belgium Nevinson witnessed horrific human suffering and misery. As described in the introduction, much of his work is ‘brutally frank’, a representation of ‘grim, undiluted tragedy’. He unflinchingly shows us death and injury, without sentimentality, and portrays nearly all of his soldiers and civilians with twisted, pained expressions.

C. R. W. Nevinson (1889–1946): Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson was an English painter, etcher and lithographer, who became one of the most famous war artists of World War I. Nevinson studied at the Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks and alongside Stanley Spencer and Mark Gertler. When he left the Slade, Nevinson befriended Marinetti, the leader of the Italian Futurists, and the radical writer and artist Wyndham Lewis. Nevinson later fell out with Lewis and the other 'rebel' artists when he attached their names to the Futurist movement. Lewis immediately founded the Vorticists, an avant garde group of artists and writers from which Nevinson was excluded. At the outbreak of World War I, Nevinson joined the Friends' Ambulance Unit and was deeply disturbed by his work tending wounded French soldiers. For a brief period he served as a volunteer ambulance driver, before ill health forced his return to Britain. Subsequently, Nevinson volunteered for home service with the Royal Army Medical Corps. He used these experiences as the subject matter for a series of powerful paintings which used the machine aesthetic of Futurism and the influence of Cubism to great effect. His fellow artist Walter Sickert wrote at the time that Nevinson's painting 'La Mitrailleuse', 'will probably remain the most authoritative and concentrated utterance on the war in the history of painting.' In 1917, Nevinson was appointed an official war artist.


In near fine condition. The boards are in very good condition, with only a couple of very minor marks. The title labels on the front board and spine are in very good condition. There is a small index mark near the base of the spine. The original dust jacket is in good condition, with some fading, and some closed tears which have been carefully repaired on the reverse with archival paper tape. The binding and hinges are very good and secure. The text is in very good condition, with a library bookplate on the front endpaper and small ink stamps to the rear of the plates and the introduction. The illustrations are in very good condition. The colour frontispiece, ‘A Column on the March’, signed in pencil by C. R. W. Nevinson, is in excellent condition, with its tissue guard also in excellent condition.

Published: 1917
With a colour frontispiece signed by C. R. W. Nevinson
and 24 monochrome plates
Green boards with paper title labels,
with original dust jacket
Dimensions: 225mm x 295mm
Pages: 79