A confusion of symbols, June 24, ’39
Framed (ref: 3702)
Signed, titled and dated, squared
pencil and gouache on paper,
17 3/4 x 15 in. (45.4 x 38.2 cm)
Tags: Alan Sorrell war RELIGION World War II Paintings by British Artists
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 129.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 129, page 172.
During the Second World War Sorrell served in the RAF, where he was able to make first-hand visual records of the daily life in the Air Force. Although twenty six of these pictures were acquired by the War Artists' Advisory Committee and Sorrell had canvassed for Rothenstein's support to put his name before the WAAC, in both private and public he questioned the morality of War. Indeed he was not scared of challenging his superiors - when he enrolled in the RAF he refused to work on terrain models of cities he considers of "irreplaceable artistic importance", what he later referred to as his "one man mutiny". His image, A Land Fit for Heros openly challenged perceptions of the Hounour and Glory that surrounded WW1.
A Land Fit for Heros
Remarkably Sorrells squared design 'A Confusion of Symbols' (possibly intended as a mural) is dated 24th June 1939 - predating the start of WW2 by well over two months.