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Hermes, Gertrude
Explosion Explosion
1926 1926

Gertrude Hermes was an English sculptor and wood engraver.
This print served as an illustration in the first edition of T.E. Lawrence¿s Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926, p. 599) with title High Explosive. The text below reads: ‘Fortunately everything went well, and after an hour Nuri gave me my signal. Half a minute later (my preference for six-inch fuses!) just as I tumbled in to the Turkish redoubt, the eight hundred pounds of stuff exploded in one burst, and the black air became sibilant with flying stones. The explosion was numbing from my twenty yards, and must have been heard half-way to Damascus.’

The subject of explosion was one that captivated and haunted the artists of World War I, for it captured with great efficiency the destructive power of war. Hermes combines a surge of energy, here expressed through an inverted triangular composition as in C.R.W. Nevinson¿s interpretation of the subject (Explosion, c. 1916, Private collection, London), with the shattering effects seen in George Grosz’s painting of the same theme (1917, Museum of Modern Art, New York). Yet Hermes’s emphasis on the billowing clouds and the varied patterns of across the surface create a true ‘sibilance’ on the paper.

 
Hermes, Gertrude
Kent, England 1901-Bristol, England 1983 Kent, England 1901-Bristol, England 1983
Explosion Explosion
1926 1926
wood engraving on Japanese paper wood engraving on Japanese paper
8.2 x 12.0 cm
Gift of Simon and Caroline Davis, 2017 Gift of Simon and Caroline Davis, 2017
60-014.02

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