• 16 Jan 2017

‘The Price of War’: Recording, Publishing and Preserving Art 1939-1945

Items from the Paul Mellon Centre’s Research Collections

When war broke out in September 1939 what was the effect on the art world? How did the following nearly six years of attrition alter the landscape of the field? Did the exhibition of art change? What was the impact on publishing? And what about the safety of actual art works and the livelihood of artists themselves?

The new Paul Mellon Centre Drawing Room Display looks at particular items from the Centre’s library, archive and photographic archives collections that go some way to answering such questions. It brings together seemingly unrelated material that, as well as being of art historical value, provides an insight into the climate in which it was created.

The display features items created between 1938 and 1949 and explores the exhibition, creation, protection, destruction and restitution of art in wartime. It is not a comprehensive look at this period but rather an exploration of these themes through individual items. It also demonstrates the intrinsically multi-faceted nature of archive and library collections that although originally preserved for one reason, may in future serve to highlight another. Click here for more information.

The display will be held in the Drawing Room and available to view for free during the Centre’s opening hours: 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday, from 16 January to 28 April 2017.

Associated event: 
Concealment & Deception: The Art of the Camoufleurs of Leamington Spa, 1939-1945
Research Lunch
3rd March 2017 | 12.30-2.30pm
Chloe Johnson and Jeff Watkin, from Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, discuss the group of 230 artists and designers who made a secret contribution in World War 2 by creating camouflage schemes to conceal possible targets.
The seminar will also include a free tour of 'The Price of War' display.