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Stalag Scene

© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2022. Photo credit: Ben Uri Collection

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Notes

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Michonze shows an exterior scene in Stalag XC with the exhausted soldiers huddled in their uniforms either standing talking in small groups or resting on the ground, dozing or gnawing hungrily at potatoes. While they are surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by an armed sentry, two birds resting lightly on the barbed wire posts point to the possibility of freedom. Although more realistic than many of Michonze's works, this small but powerful watercolour shares with them a surreal, naive and allegorical quality. Michonze drew on his own experiences: having enlisted in the French artillery in 1939, he was taken prisoner in June 1940 and transferred to Stalag XC at Nieburg-on-Weser in Germany. He witnessed the sufferings of Russian prisoners of the Red Army held in terrible conditions in drawings (some later worked up into paintings).

Ben Uri Gallery & Museum

London

Title

Stalag Scene

Date

1940–1942

Medium

pencil & watercolour on paper

Measurements

H 28 x W 38 cm (E)

Accession number

2020-02

Acquisition method

purchased, 2020

Work type

Drawing & watercolour

Signature/marks description

Signed and numbered (lower right corner): 'Michonze / 67.760 / Stalag XB'

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Ben Uri Gallery & Museum

108a Boundary Road, St John's Wood, London, Greater London NW8 0RH England

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