First world war paintings go on show for first time since 1919

Alfred Munnings’ 41 works regarded as one of the most important collections of war art anywhere

Charge of Flowerdew’s Squadron painted by Alfred Munnings in 1918 Photograph: Beaverbrook Collection of War Art Canadian War Museum

Paintings regarded as one of the most important collections of war art anywhere have gone on display together for the first time since they were exhibited to acclaim in 1919.

Alfred Munnings’ 41 paintings of soldiers, horses, battles and ruined landscapes were made during his spell, in the final year of the first world war, as an embedded artist with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on the Western Front.

The following year, they were the star of the Royal Academy of Art’s exhibition of war art but have never been seen together since, even at their home in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Emma Mawdsley, the head of collections at the National Army Museum in London, where the works have gone on display, called it a “momentous, once in a lifetime opportunity”.

Moving the Truck Another Yard by Alfred Munnings. Photograph: Beaverbrook Collection of War Art Canadian War Museum

She watched them being unpacked earlier in the week and was astounded. “They are stunning, they look a hundred times better than any reproduction, they are the most luminous, beautiful paintings.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *