Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Bombing of Guernica, 1937

It would have been market day eighty years ago today in the small Basque town of Guernica when it was bombed by the German Luftwaffe and the Italian Aeronautica Militare. It was the first deliberate targeting of civilians by a military air force in the history of the world.

Howard Daum, Combat, 1947

The number of dead was probably around 300 with scores of people, and as Picasso reminded us, animals, horribly injured, and the town destroyed. Within three months Pablo Picasso made a monumental work that continues to haunt us today.

Picasso’s painting, while under the protection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, captured the imagination of Howard Daum. In the 1940s when Daum attended Atelier 17, the New York workshop of Stanley William Hayter, he of course learned of Hayter’s friendship and professional association with Picasso. Hayter’s own engraving Combat, 1936, also referenced the Spanish Civil War, but pre-dates the bombing of Guernica. The copper plate for that print was one of the few items that Hayter brought with him in 1940 when he left Paris for New York.

Howard Daum’s version, Combat, 1947, is a tour-de-force of Atelier 17 techniques. At 14 x 18 inches it is a very large intaglio made in at least three states.

Howard Daum’s Combat follows in the Hayter/Picasso legacy of iconic anti-war compositions with a masterful Post-World-War II image. 

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Daum, Howarddaum, Picasso, Hayter, Stanleywilliamhayter, Atelier17, Guernica, Spanishcivilwar, combat, intaglio, 1937