Dunkirk Beaches, May 1940 (1941)
Photo: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa      
© National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Dunkirk Beaches, May 1940

1941

8th January 1942: Went to the War Artist Show at National Gallery. “ My large Dunkirk looked frightful, made me feel quite sick. The Convoy from the Air looked none too bad.”

RE diary

There are five Richard Eurich works that we know of depicting the Dunkirk evacuation. See the others below. 

REP

Vincent Massey was the Canadian High Commissioner to Britain during WW2, and later became the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada. He was also an art collector, and took a close interest in the activities of the both the Canadian and British war artists. Richard's set of Dunkirk pictures painted in 1940 were done speculatively before he was taken on as a official war artist, so he had to try to sell them through the Redfern gallery. Massey bought the biggest of them, Dunkirk Beaches, May 1940 (1940), at the 1941 exhibition, along with Staithes, Yorkshire (1938), both of which …

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Vincent Massey was the Canadian High Commissioner to Britain during WW2, and later became the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada. He was also an art collector, and took a close interest in the activities of the both the Canadian and British war artists. Richard's set of Dunkirk pictures painted in 1940 were done speculatively before he was taken on as a official war artist, so he had to try to sell them through the Redfern gallery. Massey bought the biggest of them, Dunkirk Beaches, May 1940 (1940), at the 1941 exhibition, along with Staithes, Yorkshire (1938), both of which he gifted to the National Gallery of Canada

Also see: The Frozen Tarn (1940) and  Troops at Balliol, Second World War (1947)

Provenance

EXHIBITED | 12th Mar to 5th Apr 1941

"Richard Eurich" - Redfern Gallery, London

Cat 7; priced at 250 guineas

ACQUIRED | 1941

purchased from the Redfern Gallery by Vincent Massey

EXHIBITED | 5th May to 9th Aug 1941

"Summer Exhibition 1941" - Royal Academy of Art, London

Cat 18; voted 'Picture of the Year'

EXHIBITED | January 1942

"War Artist Pictures" - National Gallery, London

IWM dates this showing as 1944

EXHIBITED | 1945

"War Artists Pictures", [venue and exact date unknown], Glasgow

EXHIBITED | 13th Oct to 25th Nov 1945

"National War Pictures" - Royal Academy of Arts, London

Cat 46

GIFTED | 1946

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

by the Massey Collection of English Painting; accession number 4763

EXHIBITED | 11th Apr to 30th Jun 1946

"A Collection of Contemporary English Painting" - Tate, London

The inaugural exhibition of the Massey Collection of English Painting (MCEP)

EXHIBITED | 30th Oct 1946 to 2nd Jan 1947

"A Collection of Contemporary English Painting" - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

First showing of the Massey Collection of English Painting (MCEP) in Canada before touring many other locations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

EXHIBITED | 26th Sep 1991 to 12th Jan 1992

"Richard Eurich - From Dunkirk to D-Day" - Imperial War Museum, London, UK

Cat 8; illustrated

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Provenance:

  • ACQUIRED - 1941 - purchased from the Redfern Gallery by Vincent Massey
  • GIFTED - 1946 - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
    by the Massey Collection of English Painting; accession number 4763

Exhibitions:

  • 12th Mar to 5th Apr 1941 - "Richard Eurich", Redfern Gallery, London
    Cat 7; priced at 250 guineas
  • 5th May to 9th Aug 1941 - "Summer Exhibition 1941", Royal Academy of Art, London
    Cat 18; voted 'Picture of the Year'
  • January 1942 - "War Artist Pictures", National Gallery, London
    IWM dates this showing as 1944
  • 1945 - "War Artists Pictures", [venue and exact date unknown], Glasgow
  • 13th Oct to 25th Nov 1945 - "National War Pictures", Royal Academy of Arts, London
    Cat 46
  • 11th Apr to 30th Jun 1946 - "A Collection of Contemporary English Painting", Tate, London
    The inaugural exhibition of the Massey Collection of English Painting (MCEP)
  • 30th Oct 1946 to 2nd Jan 1947 - "A Collection of Contemporary English Painting", National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
    First showing of the Massey Collection of English Painting (MCEP) in Canada before touring many other locations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
  • 26th Sep 1991 to 12th Jan 1992 - "Richard Eurich - From Dunkirk to D-Day", Imperial War Museum, London, UK
    Cat 8; illustrated

Notes:

  • None recorded.

Sketches  

A painted sketch for this work.

Dunkirk 1940 (c1940)
A painted sketch for this work.
Image © The Collector

Related  

Vincent Massey also bought 'Staithes, Yorkshire' (1938) and also gave it to the National Gallery of Canada.

Staithes, Yorkshire (1938)
Vincent Massey also bought 'Staithes, Yorkshire' (1938) and also gave it to the National Gallery of Canada.
Image © National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

 

Mrs Massey bought 'The Frozen Tarn' in 1941.

The Frozen Tarn (1940)
Mrs Massey bought 'The Frozen Tarn' in 1941.
Image © Waddington's Auctioneers and Appraisers, Toronto

 

Massey commissioned Richard to paint 'Troops at Balliol, Second World War' (1947).

Troops at Balliol, Second World War (1947)
Massey commissioned Richard to paint 'Troops at Balliol, Second World War' (1947).
Image © Richard Eurich Paintings

 

National Maritime Museum

Withdrawal from Dunkirk, June 1940 (1940)
National Maritime Museum
Image © National Maritime Museum

 

Imperial War Museum collection

Dunkirk Beaches (1940)
Imperial War Museum collection
Image © IWM Art.IWM ART LD 2277

 

Location of original unknown

Dunkirk Beach, 1940 (1940)
Location of original unknown
Image © Witt Library

Does this page contain inaccurate or missing information that you could help us with, or do you simply want to leave a comment?

References:

  • The Art of Richard Eurich (Andrew Lambirth, pub. 2020: Lund Humphries, 170 colour illustrations, ISBN 9781848221727) [fig 37, pg 54]
  • "Richard Eurich - From Dunkirk to D-Day" (Nicholas Usherwood, pub. 1991: Imperial War Museum, London, ISBN 0 901627 77 1)
  • National Gallery of Canada [reference page]
  • From the Beaches of Dunkirk: Richard Eurich (Peter Simpson, National Gallery of Canada Magazine, November 11, 2020)
  • Depuis les plages de Dunkerque : Richard Eurich (Peter Simpson, Musee des beaux-arts du Canada Magazine, 11 novembre 2020)
  • Print of Dunkirk Beaches, 1940 [printed 1946] (publisher unknown)
  • Illustrated London News [c1941]
  • Rediscovering Richard Eurich (by Peyton Skipwith, pub. Fine Art Connoisseur (Streamline, USA), October 2020, Historic Masters, pp 130-135)
  • Appletreewick, Hythe - The Home of Richard Eurich A.R.A. [pp 263-265] (by Oliver Beckett, pub. The Hampshire Countryside, Vol. 1, No. 10, October-December, 1948) ['Dunkirk Beaches, May 1940' illustrated p 265]
  • The National Gallery in Wartime (by Suzanne Bosman, pub. National Gallery Company Ltd, London, 2008, reprinted 2019, ISBN 9781857094244, 1018522) [illustrated pp 95-96]
  • Going British And Being Modern In The Visual Art Systems Of Canada, 1906-1976 (by Sarah A. Stanners, University of Toronto, pub. Library and Archives Canada, Published Heritage Branch, 2009) [see chapter 1]