An original 1949 gouache painting, Robert Warren ARIBA Amsterdam Canal & St Nicholas Basilica.
This superb large-scale work in gouache and watercolour, by architect Robert Warren ARIBA, shows the Old Centre of Amsterdam from the canal, in 1949. The view, despite the blue skies, has a certain eeriness - with stark shadows and steely grey waters. Amsterdam remained largely intact after the Second World War, but was nevertheless a city heavily marked by the German occupation 1940-49. In addition to his architectural career, Robert Warren was a lieutenant in the 4 Field Squadron Royal Engineers, awarded the Military Cross during the Second World War.
Signed and dated lower right.
Overall in very good condition. There are very slight creases across the upper left and lower right corners of the sheet, and a soft vertical crease visible on the verso, which does not affect the front. There is a pinhole to the far upper right corner of the sheet.
50.3cm x 37.5cm.
This work is from a collection of paintings and drawings we have by mid-century architect Robert Warren ARIBA.
Robert Warren’s artworks are wide-ranging in style and subject. The collection includes architectural plans dating from the 1940s and 1950s, which evidence Warren’s flair for progressive design, working in the post war modernist idiom. Warren was involved in designing large municipal buildings of glass and concrete, as well as urban domestic housing, and bespoke commissions such as a modernist church in Sweden.
This work is from a powerful group of pictures produced by Robert Warren in 1940s wartime Europe. Whilst Warren is not listed as an official war artist during the Second World War, the range of locations and anecdotal views around Normandy, northern Germany, Holland and Belgium, and the observational style of his drawings, suggest that Warren was certainly documenting the war first-hand. The drawings do not, however, have the appearance of a soldier’s sketches on the front, but rather the scenes are filtered through the eyes of an artist, with striking and artful compositions, often signed and dated. Scenes include tank convoys, military vehicles and temporary bridges in bleak, night landscapes, and views of bomb damaged towns and villages.
Some of Warren’s wartime works evidence his experimental modernist aesthetic, drawing on varied influences of European Modernism, including Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism. Warren’s abstract artwork in part resembles the abstract, geometric compositions of Paul Klee, and Der Blaue Reiter artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, whilst paintings with more figurative elements recall the work of Surrealists such as Giorgio de Chirico and his organic forms resemble the biomorphic abstraction of Jean Arp and Joan Miró. Expressive pieces also show an affinity with the work of his contemporary, Jackson Pollock. Warren’s colour palette, combining bright primary colours with more subtle earthy hues, exemplifies mid-century modern design.
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Product code: JA-134