1920 - 2013
Italian Cruiser in Naples Harbour
watercolour on paper
signed, dated 10 Aug 1944 and inscribed "Naples" and on verso signed, titled and dated
10 x 22 1/2 in, 25.4 x 57.2 cm
Estimate: $20,000 - $25,000 CAD
Private Collection, Ontario
Tom Smart, Alex Colville: Return, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 2003, page 34
“In artistic terms, existentialism sees art as an attempt to give the world the coherence, order and unity it lacks, and Colville was drawn to this structure.”
- Tom Smart, Alex Colville: Return
The works produced during Alex Colville’s time as an official war artist during World War II are an important means by which to better understand the artist and an essential element of his work in many ways. First of all, they are irreplaceable historical documents, rendered in detailed sensitivity, depicting varied facets of war-time existence, from the calm to the profoundly traumatic. Examples such as Italian Cruiser in Naples Harbour also display the exacting finesse that would become a central hallmark of his distinctive style. Existentially, too, Colville’s experiences as a war artist produced an extremely acute inflection point in his philosophical world-view. As many artists and writers of his generation, it would lead Colville on a lifelong search for how humanity could rediscover the connections with nature, society, and our own selves that were lost in the harrowing destructions of that period.
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