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Hutchison, Margaret: Painting War: A History of Australia’s First World War Art Scheme

Margaret Hutchison

Painting War: A History of Australia’s First World War Art Scheme, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2018

Part of the Australian Army History series, edited by Peter Stanley.

During the First World War the Australian Government established an official war art scheme, sending artists to the front lines to create a visual record of the Australian experience of the war. Around two thousand sketches and paintings were commissioned and acquired between 1916 and 1922. In Painting War, Margaret Hutchison examines the official art scheme as a key commemorative practice of the First World War and argues that the artworks had many makers beyond the artists. Government officials’ selection of artists and subjects for the war paintings and their emphasis on the eyewitness value of the images over their aesthetic merit profoundly shaped the character of the art collection. Richly illustrated, Painting War provides an important understanding of the individuals, institutions and the politics behind the war art scheme that helped shape a national memory of the First World War for Australia.(blurb)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by Gary Werskey. Hutchison writes for The Conversation with plenty of illustrations. An earlier article by Hutchison. Hutchison on the ABC with Eddie Ayres and Sasha Grishin. An article by Hutchison in Australian Policy and History.