Clicking on this blue square gives you correct entrance into The Heritage of the Great War - to the FrontpageTHE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WARClicking on this blue square gives you correct entrance into The Heritage of the Great War - to the Frontpage
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Mary Riter Hamilton's
extraordinary view on
France and Flanders
shortly after the war

 

Picture: Evening on the Belgian Front


Evening on the Belgian Front

The Beauty of the Battlefield

Canadian artist Mary Riter Hamilton

Picture: La Mélancholie de la Somme

 

Alone in a Tin Hut

In 1919, six months after the war ended, the Canadian painter Mary Riter Hamilton (PICTURE RIGHT) went to Northern France.
There she lived and worked alone in a tin hut, amid Chinese workers clearing the Western Front of war debris.

She was 46 years old. She lived under very uncomfortable conditions, with poor food, bad weather and danger due to criminal gangs that roamed the region.

During three years she painted the terrible, destructed landscape around her - but with an open eye for beauty. She made 300 paintings, many on canvas, but also on cardboard, paper and plywood. She worked with oil, charcoil and water colors.

artist Mary Riter Hamilton

Picture: Sanctuary Wood, Flanders

For the Amputees

Actually she was sent out, by The War Amputations of Canada (formerly The Amputation Club of British Columbia). Her task was to provide paintings of the battlefields of France and Belgium for publication in a veterans' magazine The Gold Stripe.

Emotionally the work drained her. She never sold any of these paintings. In 1926 she gave them all to the Library and Archives Canada. She died in 1954, at the age of 81.

Click here for a slideshow of her paintings

 

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Red Button  More on contemporary artists who work on the Great War on our Modern War Art pages.

Red Button  Art of the First World War : to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the end of the First World War six important European Great War Museums have put 110 paintings from international collections on the Internet. Not contemporary art, but work made during the war. It is an excellent exhibition, well worth visiting.

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