Exhibition Opening: Impressions of War

  • Saint Louis Art Museum 1 Fine Arts Drive St. Louis, MO, 63110 United States

August 5, 2016—February 12, 2017 | Galleries 234 and 235 | Free

Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco de Goya's print series known as the Disasters of War stands as one of the major achievements in the history of European art. The Disasters responded to the French occupation of Spain by Napoleon Bonaparte between 1808 and 1814. It broke ground with the intensity of its focus on war’s cruelties, yet the prints also shed light on the bravery of the Spanish people on the ground in the face of foreign occupation. Although Goya made the prints during and immediately after the war, they were not formally published until 1863, more than three decades after his death.

Additional Print Series: 1633-2006
The exhibition also features three additional series of prints by artists whose works also respond to the darker side of war and its aftermath. Produced in the 1630s, Jacques Callot's Miseries of War established a tradition that inspired many artists after him, including Goya. Max Beckmann's portfolio Hell, 1919, scrutinizes the bloody political clashes and material hardship that afflicted Berlin in the months following World War I. The most contemporary work in the exhibition, Amman Portfolio, 2006, by Daniel Heyman, features eight descriptive drypoint portraits with fragments of the traumatic content from interviews he was invited to witness of Iraqi citizens who had been detained and tortured in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Impressions of War is curated by Elizabeth Wyckoff, curator of prints, drawings, and photographs; Leah Chizek, research assistant, and Ann-Maree Walker, senior research assistant, and Gretchen Wagner, Mellon Fellow for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. It is organized as a counterpart to the upcoming exhibition Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, which opens October 16 in the Main Exhibition Galleries.