Refugees: Mother and Child

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Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART LD 5753
Production date
1945
Subject period
Materials
  • medium: charcoal
  • support: paper
Dimensions
  • Support: Height 254 mm
  • Support: Width 260 mm
  • Frame: Height 600 mm
  • Frame: Width 450 mm
  • Frame: Depth 30 mm
Alternative Names
  • object category: drawing
Creator
Category
art

License Image

Object description

image: a woman stands holding a baby or a bundle at her left shoulder, with a child sitting on a large bundle beside her.

Label

A London-born artist who studied at Clapham School of Art and the Central School, Mary Kessell completed her art education just before the start of the Second World War. Adept at book illustration and mural painting, she was commissioned as an official war artist by the War Artists Advisory Committee to visit Germany in 1945 just as the war in Europe was ending. Kessell completed a series of drawings of refugees in Berlin and the traumatic scenes she witnessed in the aftermath of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Kessell’s able handling of charcoal, her chosen medium in most of the series, is evident in this example. In 'Refugees: Mother and Child', Kessell applies the charcoal thickly to outline the two figures, conveying a stark sense of suffering and isolation.

 

A London-born artist who studied at Clapham School of Art and the Central School, Mary Kessell completed her art education just before the start of the Second World War. Adept at book illustration and mural painting, she was commissioned as an official war artist by the War Artists Advisory Committee to visit Germany in 1945 just as the war in Europe was ending. Kessell completed a series of drawings of refugees in Berlin and the traumatic scenes she witnessed in the aftermath of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Kessell’s able handling of charcoal, her chosen medium in most of the series, is evident in these two examples. In 'Refugees: Mother and Child', Kessell applies the charcoal thickly to outline the two figures. This contrasts with the single child figure rendered in charcoal against a white background. Both drawings convey a stark sense of suffering and isolation.

History note

War Artists Advisory Committee commission

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