Art, War, State and Identity in Britain, 1939-1945Book - 2007
In this groundbreaking examination of British war art during the Second World War, Brian Foss delves deeply into what art meant to Britain and its people at a time when the nation's very survival was under threat. Foss probes the impact of war art on the relations between art, state patronage, and public interest in art, and he considers how this period of duress affected the trajectory of British Modernism. Supported by some two hundred illustrations and extensive archival research, the book offers the richest, most nuanced view of mid-century art and artists in Britain yet written.
The author focuses closely on Sir Kenneth Clark's influential War Artists' Advisory Committee and explores topics ranging from censorship to artists' finances, from the depiction of women as war workers to the contributions of war art to evolving notions of national identity and Britishness. Lively and insightful, the book adds new dimensions to the study of British art and cultural history.