IN “Artists of the Great War”, the NGA presents the first of two exhibitions exploring the works of official war artists and their civilian counterparts in the lead up to and during World War I.
“Artists of the Great War” features 50 works by celebrated Australian artists of the time, including Will Dyson, George Lambert, Norman Lindsay, Arthur Streeton and Hilda Rix Nicholas, alongside works by soldiers, recruiters, and women behind the lines.
Curated by associate professor David Hansen with assistance from students from the ANU as a professional development opportunity, it reveals the heroism, grief, and horror of the “Great War” through various perspectives, the exhibition explores the themes of propaganda, official commissions, and contemporary reactions.
Propaganda is explored through posters, print and caricatures and the Western Front is brought to life in paintings, drawings and prints by the first of the official war artists, Will Dyson.
Dyson was a crucially important artists and caricaturist whose life and career is not as well-known as the other artists included, such as close friend, Norman Lindsay.
The exhibition draws on works of art from the NGA and Australian War Memorial collections.
There will be a lecture from historian and biographer, Ross McMullin, on “Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius” at 6pm on Thursday, November 3, at the NGA.
“Artists of the Great War” continues until June 17. Entry is free.