In the November Fine Art Sale 2012

The Julian Andrews Art Collection

Julian Andrews was an arts envoy for the British Council from 1973 up until his retirement in 1994. He was an outgoing individual, a lively personality who, despite his combative attitudes to excessive bureaucracy, won the respect of all his colleagues both at home and in the Overseas Services of the Council.

Born in London in 1934 and partly raised in North Wales, he was a natural linguist and read Russian and French at Cambridge.After graduating in 1957 he spent 6 years teaching English language in Italy and Brazil plus a stint as assistant to the export manager at Aquascutum in London. During these years he first worked for the British Council, taking up a studentship in teacher training in London before developing English Language teaching at the Cultura Inglesa in Sao Paulo.

During the next ten years he continued to work for the British Council in languages in Egypt, again in Brazil and London before being posted to Milan as Regional Director in North Italy. This was the perfect setting for arts and educational work by the British Council. 1976 was Julian’s most successful year in this post, the exhibition Arte Inglese Oggi, held in the Palazzo Reale, featuring work by 50 prominent British artists, was a particularly successful project and he also managed the British representation at the Venice Biennale, when the sculptor Richard Long was selected as the British artist.

In 1979, after a years training at the Courtauld Institute of Art he took up the dream post of Director Fine Arts in London where he first worked with the sculptor Henry Moore on various international exhibitions. This period of his career saw him supervising the department’s role in the landmark Treasures of Britain exhibition in Washington and his involvement with the Council of Europe led to the award of its Cultural Medal in recognition of his work on the standards of exhibition management. His final posting was to The Netherlands in 1986 where he stayed until his retirement to North Wales in 1994.

His publications include The Sculpture of David Nash (1999), The Shelter Drawings of Henry Moore (2002), and earlier, Sutherland: Disegni di Guerra with Roberto Tassi in 1982.

Lot 354 Paul Nash

Rain, Lake Zillebeke.

Lithograph. 25.5 x 36.2cm

Estimate: £10000 – 15000   SOLD for £18,000

Signed, inscribed with the title and dated 1917. (We know of no other example with this date, all other dated prints are 1918)

From the ‘Void of War’ exhibition held at the Leicester Galleries, May 1918. Catalogue No.47

L3. Alexander Postan, The complete Graphic Work of Paul Nash 1973.

Inscribed on the reverse in the artist’s hand: ‘1 of last 4 prints of edition (25) 4 guineas’

Provenance: Purchased by Julian Andrews at the Phillips Old Master Modern & Decorative Prints auction 24th October 1990. Lot No. 404

Paul Nash was first sent to the front as an infantry officer in February 1917, after injury and recuperation in England he returned to France in November as an official War Artist. He was, like many artists and poets of the Great War, profoundly affected by his experience. He wrote to his wife:

“It is unspeakable, godless, hopeless. I am no longer an artist interested and curious, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on forever. Feeble, inarticulate, will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.’

The artistic expression of Nash’s rage at the futility of war was a series of works exhibited in 1918, an exhibition tellingly entitled, ‘The Void of War’. In preparation for this Nash had worked frantically, doing some 60-70 drawings a week at the Front in France. He had then returned to England to prepare finished works for exhibition.

Alexander Postan writes in his seminal book, The complete Graphic Work of Paul Nash:

“These lithographs, L1-L7, can now be seen as his finest prints. At this stage of his life Nash shows an intensity of vision and commitment to a message that was never matched in his later work. These images, although technically crude by the standards of his late work, in particular his delicate and restrained watercolours, was to British painting what Owen and Sassoon were to British poetry. Nash chose subjects to draw and paint that were considered startling; The mud and churned earth that form the subject of The Crater, Hill 60, far from exciting laughter or ridicule, conveyed a powerful and effective view of a new form of hell to his audience in London. Void and Rain, Lake Zillebeke and German double pill-box, Gheluvelt (L2, L3, L5) are landscapes that, by their use of stark monochrome, exaggerate the horror that swallowed a generation. These powerful pictures told a story to their original viewers in a way that our blasé and experienced eyes accept without surprise.”

Arnold Bennet wrote perceptively, in the introduction to the catalogue for the exhibition, that the works had been ‘done in a rational and dignified rage, in a restrained passion of resentment at the spectacle of what man suffers, in a fierce determination to transmit to the beholder the full horror of war’. (2)

As an artist, Nash’s work had gained some recognition in the pre-war years. However it was following the ‘Void of War’ exhibition that he first received widespread acclaim. In 1918 Ezra Pound wrote that Nash’s ‘Void of War’ exhibition had probably been ‘the best show of war art … that we have had’.

A later writer said of these pictures that they were the only true war pictures, ‘They were the equivalent of the war and not reports upon it. They were the soldiers’ experience and not the journalists’ or the touring artists’.’