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James McBey. 1883-1959.

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Français Inconnus. 1917. Drypoint. Hardie 176. 6 x 9 7/8 (sheet 7 1/2 x 11 3/8). Edition 76, #A18. A fine impression printed on cream laid paper from an antique volume. Signed and numbered in in ink. $1,250.

Hardie writes, "A graveyard of unknown French soldiers at Fricourt. Poilus are resting in what was once a trench; beyond it, barbed wire stretches in front of wooden crosses. Two observation balloons in the sky to the right."

In 1916 James McBey enlisted and was appointed an Official War Artist by the British Government and sent to France at Boulogne and Rouen. In the spring of 1917 McBey was at the Somme Front, a focal point for some of the most disastrous battles of the First World War. Spring 1917 and Français Inconnus are two of his most powerfuls drypoints depicting the war in France. The surviving soldiers and the landscape are both exhausted.

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