Brian Hunter

Brian Hunter

Posted on 08/15/2013

Photo taken on May 29, 2013

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Bomberg in a Tunnel

Bomberg in a Tunnel
The flurry of patronage linked to the war continued into the immediate post war period. Bomberg picked up a commission from Canada to paint Canadian tunnelers at work in the bowels of the earth digging a shaft under which a massive mine would be placed to literally blow the German front line sky high.

Bomberg had seen service in the Royal Engineers so he ought to have been ideally suited to the subject. The problem was that the committee overseeing the commissions hated the way he was tackling it and were so hostile that there was a real danger he'd lose the commision altogether. Even though this is a lot less overtly "modern" that The Hold, it was still too much for those commissioning him.

In the end he managed to rework the subject in ways acceptable to the Canadians but the episode seriously dented his confidence. It also indicated that the (relative) openness to innovative art which had prevailed during the War was beginning to close down. Bomberg left Britain to work as official artist for the nascent Zionist settler movement in Palestine.