Robert Gibbings (Irish, 1889-1958) The Retreat from Serbia Woodcut printed in colours, 1916, on japan, signed, titled and dated in pencil, with margins, 177 x 177mm (7 x 7in)(B)
Lot 2AR
Robert Gibbings
(Irish, 1889-1958)
The Retreat from Serbia
Sold for £2,187 (US$ 2,997) inc. premium

Lot Details
Robert Gibbings (Irish, 1889-1958)
The Retreat from Serbia (Epsom frontispiece)
Woodcut printed in colours, 1916, on japan, signed, titled and dated in pencil, with margins, 177 x 177mm (7 x 7in)(B)

Footnotes

  • "The Retreat from Serbia is based on a remarkable photograph taken by a war correspondent, published in 'The Illustrated London News' on 15 January 1916. The Serbian commander-in-chief, Marshall Putnik, was heading the retreat from the Germans through Albania. His soldiers carried him in a sedan chair over the Bridge of the Visiers, which crossed a river, the White Drin. The artist's eye was caught by the stark but beautiful lines of the stonework of the sixteenth-century Ottoman bridge. Its distinctive parabola form, without any parapet, was characteristic of many bridges adapted from Roman architecture by Ottoman military engineers throughout the Turkish Empire.
    A subject matter for his early prints, Gibbings often used the silhouetted forms of architecture, as they were peculiarly suited to the hard-edged patterns rendered by the woodcut block. The subtle colouring enhances the melancholy nature of the subject. The image in the newspaper was striking enough, but the printmaker has made something even more haunting from this tragic episode of the First World War. Gibbings himself served in the army and was wounded at Gallipoli, but although he produced several prints of the buildings he had seen while abroad, he did not otherwise make images of the war."

    Margaret Timmers, ed., Impressions of the Twentieth Century: Fine Art Prints from the V&A Collections (London: V&A Publications, 2001)
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