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

Withdrawal from Dunkirk, June 1940

1940

We know of five Richard Eurich works which depict the Dunkirk evacuation. See them all together by going to 'Dunkirk Beach, 1940'.

REP

In spring 1940, in the face of overwhelming German advance, 366,162 Allied soldiers were evacuated from Dunkirk. Eurich immediately saw the importance of the event and wrote to the War Artists Advisory Committee: ' Now the epic subject I have been waiting for has taken place. The Dunkirk episode'. An emotionally intense tribute, painstakingly based on documentary sources, the painting made the artist famous and was used by the Navy as its Christmas card for 1940.

Display text by exhibited painting

It is a magnificent painting, full of drama and pathos. The two most salient features are the great dark anvil cloud of smoke in the far distance, and the group of pleasure boats and craft of all kinds and descriptions, including at least one of the old-fashioned paddle steamers, in the immediate foreground. The small boats are rescuing the beleagured soldiery - seen in tiny profusion still on the beach, with shells exploding all around them - with great daring but at considerable risk. Eurich's prctical knowledge of Dunkirk enabled him to be especially convincing in his rendition of the …

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It is a magnificent painting, full of drama and pathos. The two most salient features are the great dark anvil cloud of smoke in the far distance, and the group of pleasure boats and craft of all kinds and descriptions, including at least one of the old-fashioned paddle steamers, in the immediate foreground. The small boats are rescuing the beleagured soldiery - seen in tiny profusion still on the beach, with shells exploding all around them - with great daring but at considerable risk. Eurich's prctical knowledge of Dunkirk enabled him to be especially convincing in his rendition of the layout of beach and port, and his high vantage point allowed him the necessary distance from the action to organise it with clarity and controlled dynamism.

Andrew Lambirth 'The Art of Richard Eurich'

See the note on the Art UK website linked in References below, and also the MOMA, New York references.

REP

Britain at War was the Committee's major overseas exhibition with oils and watercolours from over thirty artists. It opened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in May 1941, with some 3,000 people attending on the opening day. The selection of works was aimed at undermining American neutrality. The exhibition went on to Baltimore before fourteen images, with Canadian themes, were added for showings in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. The exhibition was then split in two for display in Pittsburgh and London, Ontario before the entire catalogue was exhibited in San Francisco in 1942. Britain at War then toured …

read more..

Britain at War was the Committee's major overseas exhibition with oils and watercolours from over thirty artists. It opened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in May 1941, with some 3,000 people attending on the opening day. The selection of works was aimed at undermining American neutrality. The exhibition went on to Baltimore before fourteen images, with Canadian themes, were added for showings in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. The exhibition was then split in two for display in Pittsburgh and London, Ontario before the entire catalogue was exhibited in San Francisco in 1942. Britain at War then toured Central and South America in place of 111 WAAC paintings that had been lost when the ship taking them to Rio de Janeiro was sunk.

Wikipedia / Brain Foss (2007). War paint: Art, War, State and I

"He recalled that his most famous work was done during spare moments in 1940 - between his wartime jobs as an air raid warden and an ambulance driver in the Southampton area."

Provenance

ACQUIRED | 1940

bought by the Ministry of Information (WAAC) for approximately £53

EXHIBITED | December 1940

"British War Artists" - National Gallery, London

EXHIBITED | 22nd May to 2nd Sep 1941

"Britain at War" - The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

illustrated on dust jacket and as frontispiece - see MOMA references below

EXHIBITED | [unknown date]

Toured with the 'Britain at War' exhibition to other cities in the USA , Canada, Central and South America. See Comment above for details.

EXHIBITED | 1942

"War Pictures by British Artists" - toured to schools in the UK

cover photo on catalogue

GIFTED | c1946

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

by the War Artists' Advisory Committee to the National Maritime Museum; accession number BHC0672

EXHIBITED | 25th Nov 1979 to 20th Jan 1980

"Richard Eurich, RA - A Retrospective Exhibition" - Bradford City Art Gallery / Cartwright Hall, Bradford    (toured Glasgow, London, Southampton)

Cat 26, illustrated; Bradford and Southampton venues only

EXHIBITED | 26th Sep 1991 to 12th Jan 1992

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

Cat 6

EXHIBITED | 28th Jan to 13th Mar 1994

"The Edge of all the Land: Richard Eurich 1903-1992" - Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton    (toured to Manchester, Bradford, Ipswich)

Cat 28

EXHIBITED | 20th Mar to 29th May 2004

"Sea Change - Paintings by Richard Eurich in War and Peace" - St. Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington

EXHIBITED | 15th Feb 2014 to 1st Feb 2015

"War Artists at Sea" - National Maritime Museum / Royal Museums Greenwich, London

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Provenance:

  • ACQUIRED - 1940 - bought by the Ministry of Information (WAAC) for approximately £53
  • GIFTED - c1946 - National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
    by the War Artists' Advisory Committee to the National Maritime Museum; accession number BHC0672

Exhibitions:

  • December 1940 - "British War Artists", National Gallery, London
  • 22nd May to 2nd Sep 1941 - "Britain at War", The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
    illustrated on dust jacket and as frontispiece - see MOMA references below
  • - None
    Toured with the 'Britain at War' exhibition to other cities in the USA , Canada, Central and South America. See Comment above for details.
  • 1942 - "War Pictures by British Artists", toured to schools in the UK
    cover photo on catalogue
  • 25th Nov 1979 to 20th Jan 1980 - "Richard Eurich, RA - A Retrospective Exhibition", Bradford City Art Gallery / Cartwright Hall, Bradford    (toured Glasgow, London, Southampton)
    Cat 26, illustrated; Bradford and Southampton venues only
  • 26th Sep 1991 to 12th Jan 1992 - "Richard Eurich - From Dunkirk to D-Day", Imperial War Museum, London, UK
    Cat 6
  • 28th Jan to 13th Mar 1994 - "The Edge of all the Land: Richard Eurich 1903-1992", Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton    (toured to Manchester, Bradford, Ipswich)
    Cat 28
  • 20th Mar to 29th May 2004 - "Sea Change - Paintings by Richard Eurich in War and Peace", St. Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington
  • 15th Feb 2014 to 1st Feb 2015 - "War Artists at Sea", National Maritime Museum / Royal Museums Greenwich, London

Notes:

  • None recorded.

Other  

Catalogue of an exhibition of original drawings and enlarged photographs of drawings and paintings of war subjects circulated by the Ministry of Information for Exhibition in Schools. First Selection 1942

Catalogue of an exhibition of original drawings and enlarged photographs of drawings and paintings of war subjects circulated by the Ministry of Information for Exhibition in Schools. First Selection 1942

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References:

  • The Art of Richard Eurich (Andrew Lambirth, pub. 2020: Lund Humphries, 170 colour illustrations, ISBN 9781848221727) [fig 36, pg 53]
  • Art UK [artuk.org]
  • War Paint: Art, War, State and Identity in Britain, 1939–1945 (by Brian Foss, pub. Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-10890-3, 2007) [illustrated, Fig. 163, pg. 133]
  • Poet of the Beach (Peyton Skipwith, Country Life, 19 September 2020) [pg 142]
  • Life Magazine (1941) [illustrated in colour]
  • WWII: War Pictures by British Artists (Ed. Sarah Llewellyn and Paul Liss, pub. Liss Llewellyn Fine Art, 2016) [illustrated page 21]
  • RA Chronicle [illustration]
  • “Richard Eurich (1903-1992) Visionary Artist” (Edward Chaney and Christine Clearkin (contributions by James Hyman, David McCann and Peyton Skipwith), pub. 2003: Paul Holberton Publishing, ISBN 1903470110) [Cat 26, illustrated in MOMA Britain at War Catalogue 1941, not exhibited]
  • Britain at war [exhibition catalogue] (MoMA, 1941) [image on cover and frontispiece [takes a while to download]]
  • William Rothenstein & Richard Eurich - WAR ARTISTS [Fourth in a series in the Not Just Hockney series of books about past artists from the Bradford district.] (Colin Neville, Not Just Hockney, 2021) [pg 12]
  • National Maritime Museum [website] [Object Details]
  • [title unknown] [7 September, 1940] (Illustrated London News)
  • Depuis les plages de Dunkerque : Richard Eurich (Peter Simpson, Musee des beaux-arts du Canada Magazine, 11 novembre 2020)
  • WAR THROUGH ARTISTS' EYES (Selected and Introduced by Eric Newton, John Murray)
  • From the Beaches of Dunkirk: Richard Eurich (Peter Simpson, National Gallery of Canada Magazine, November 11, 2020)
  • War Artists at Sea [4 February 2014] (Pub. Wall Street International magazine) [illustration]
  • Dunkirk in Art [3rd July 2019] (Robjn Cantus, Inexpensive Progress) [article]
  • 'Night Raid on Portsmouth Docks’ signed 1941 - A Wartime Incident by Richard Eurich (1903-1992), THE ELUSIVE MR BEARE AND OTHER ESSAYS [ISBN 978 0 9559118 1 1] (Nigel Surry, Fortune Press, 2015)
  • Sybil & Cyril: Cutting through Time (by Jenny Uglow, Publisher ‏ : ‎ Faber & Faber; Main edition (4 Nov. 2021), 0571354157, ‏ 978-0571354153) [illustrated]
  • Charles Cundall (1890-1971) (by Annabel Setter, Andrew Lambirth, Brian Foss, Michael Barker, William Gaunt, Editors: Sacha Llewellyn and Paul Liss, Pub: Liss Llewellyn Fine Art, 30 Sept 2016, 0993088457, 9780993088452) [illustrated]
  • “Interview: Richard Eurich, R.A.” (Peterson, Melanie, The Artist, London, Vol 82, Issue 488) [p 51]
  • Eurich, Richard: Artists (by Colin Neville, pub. Not Just Hockney website) [illustrated]
  • Churchill's Navy - The Ships, People and Organisation 1939-1945 (by Brian Lavery, pub. Bloomsbury) [illustrated on page 16]
  • Bradford Artists and War (by Colin Neville, pub. Not Just Hockney website) [illustrated]
  • War Pictures by British Artists - War at Sea (Sir Herbert Richmond [Introduction], pub. Oxford University Press, 1942)
  • War Pictures by British Artists [Catalogue of an exhibition of original drawings and enlarged photographs of drawings and paintings of war subjects circulated by the Ministry of Information for Exhibition in Schools. First Selection 1942] (pub. George Pullman & Sons, Ltd, 1942) [Cover image]
  • In Focus: The Anglo-German pacifist-turned-war artist who famously chronicled Dunkirk — despite not being there [cut down version of Peyton Skipwith's article for the printed version, edited by Gavin Stamp - Sept 18, 2020] (Peyton Skipwith, Country Life - online)

Reproduced in:
'Listener'
'Tatler' etc