Now Back the Bayonets. 1918. Lithographic poster, printed in red, black and yellow. Black 44b. 29 1/2 x 18 7/8 (image and sheet). Unobtrusive Vertical and horizontal fold marks; otherwise fine condition. An excellent impression with bright, fresh colors, printed on thin wove paper backed with Japanese mulberry paper. Printed by the by Dangerfield Printing Co. Ltd. London. Signed in the stone. Housed in a 34 1/4 x 24 1/2-inch two-tone gold modernist frame. $9,600.
Nevinson first produced his bayonet design for the poster for his own show of paintings at the Leicester Galleries, March, 1918, entitled "War", illustrated in Edward Bayes's "The Underworld: Taking cover in a Tube Station during a London air raid" in the Imperial War Museum collection. The colors were yellow and purple. The printers were David Allen & Sons Ltd. He then offered the design to the War Savings Committee for use in promoting the raising of funds. Subsequently the poster was issued with Now Back the Bayonets. text in yellow and orange color.
Nevinson's design exemplifies the optical disturbance associated with "dazzle" effects, those made possible by combining the geometric experimentation of cubism with the simplifications of the Japanese woodcut of the Ukiyo-e (floating world). In poster terms, dazzle effects were deployed to attract the eye against an increasingly hectic background of metropolitan spectacular. Large-scale dazzle effects were famously used by Norman Wilkinson and colleagues to camouflage shipping. The consistent recurrence of dazzle and strobe effects points to the power of this design as a major breakthrough.
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