CHRISTOPHER RICHARD WYNNE NEVINSON
1889 - London - 1946
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson’s fame rests primarily on the pictures he executed in his capacity as an Official War Artist during the First World War. He was also a painter of landscapes, domestic interiors, portraits and flower studies, and was an accomplished etcher and engraver.
He trained at the St. John’s Wood School, The Slade, and then went to Paris where he shared a studio with Modigliani and continued his studies at the Academie Julian and the Cercle Russe. Prior to 1914, Nevinson’s talent developed rapidly as he moved from Post-Impressionism to Futurism, being a close friend of the leading Futurist Marinetti and contributing illustrations to the Vorticist’s journal ‘Blast’.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Nevinson enlisted as an ambulance driver attached to the French Army and served with the R.A.M.C. The paintings, drawings and prints he made from his battlefield notes brought him recognition and he became one of the first Official War Artists. When the war ended, he resumed the subject matter of his former years, depicting scenes of London and Paris, including street life, café society, urban landscapes and industrial canals. He exhibited with the New English Art Club, the Friday Club, the Allied Artist’s Association, was a founder member of the London Group in 1913, and held his first one-man show of war paintings at the Leicester Galleries in 1916.
Nevinson went to New York in 1919 and was inspired by the architecture of Manhattan, appreciating the sky-scrapers both for their dramatic beauty and as symbols of a new age. From the mid-1920s English landscapes succeeded the skyscrapers as his primary subject matter and he built a mobile studio for painting expeditions.
By the early 1930s, Nevinson had begun to paint monumental composite images to express his views about the world. He published his autobiography ‘Paint and Prejudice’ in 1937 and when the Second World War broke out, he returned to painting war subjects up until his death in 1946.