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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).
pencil & watercolour on paper
H 28 x W 38 cm (E)
Drawing & watercolour
Signed and numbered (lower right corner): 'Michonze / 67.760 / Stalag XB'