Southampton holds a significant cluster of British Surrealist paintings and drawings but this is the first work by Armstrong to enter the collection.
Dead Church by John Armstrong, 1941
© the artist's estate. All Rights Reserved 2011 / Bridgeman Art Library
- Tempera on board
- 34.3 x 43.8 cm
- Art Fund grant:
- £3,700 ( Total: £11,000)
- Acquired in:
- Mayor Gallery
Armstrong was an important, influential and highly original artist associated with the British Surrealists. He was a member of Paul Nashs progressive Unit One in 1933 which promoted both abstract constructivism and surrealism. This painting was created during his time as an official war artist. His wartime landscapes of bombed buildings exemplified by Dead Church became increasingly transformed into places of ruin and desecration, signifying the ultimate sacrifice of war. The broken, brick-like strokes suggest that the fabric of the hollow church is paper-thin, about to be blown away like leaves in the wind.
Artist's estate; Mayor Gallery.