Roberts Gallery Blog
Roberts Gallery Blog

CYRIL HENRY BARRAUD

The exhibition focuses primarily on the etchings by Cyril H. Barraud (1877-1965) a British artist and graphic designer, who immigrated to Canada from England in 1913, and took up residence in Winnipeg. There, Barraud taught at the Winnipeg School of Art where his artistic influence had great impact on the community which included Walter J. Phillips to whom he taught etching. Other notable Canadian War Artists included are Dorothy Stevens, Frank and Caroline Armington, Gyrth Russell, James Kerr-Lawson, Samuel H. Maw, C. W. Jefferys and Arthur Lismer.

In 1990, I first came in contact with two of Barraud’s war etchings at a Ritchie’s auction sale. At that time, I had never heard of him nor had I seen any prior works. His compositions were deliberate
and carefully orchestrated. He transcribes the obliterated landscape with precision, sometimes using cryptic articulate lines and tone manipulation to heighten the visual aesthetics and atmospheric conditions. The war-shattered buildings were carefully delineated and precise in their endeavour to describe the
desolate devastations of war as seen in the etching titled, “The Great Square”. The figure, whether isolated or in groupings, added greatly to the dynamic tension found within the compositions.

Barraud was sent overseas in August 1915 with the 43rd Battalion, and in November 1917 was appointed an official War Artist. During his time in France and Belgium, Barraud sketched along the front lines and many of these sketches were later used to create etchings for the Canadian War Memorials Fund. These
images were part of the Canadian War Memorials Exhibition held in London in 1919.

Discussing his work with former curator Rosemarie Tovell of the Print and Drawing division at the National Gallery of Canada, she stated that Barraud etchings were the most expressive of all the Canadian War Artist. She went to describe such work as “Evening on Ypres” and “Entering Ypres at Dawn” “as poignant and moving masterpieces”.

2018 marked the Centenary Commemorative Anniversary of Armistice that ended World War 1. Canada along with other Allied countries continue to remember and honour the Memories of all those who served, died and were affected by the war, both at home and abroad.

This Centenary Exhibition of War Images is in recognition of the sacrifice of those men and woman who fought, as well as a tribute to the artists who created the artwork, each telling its own story of a time and place once was.