A wartime oil painting, Bomb Store No.3, depicting the underground bomb store at RAF Fauld in Tutbury near Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire by British artist David Bomberg (1890-1957) is to be sold at Bonhams
, New Bond Street, as part of its 20th Century British Art sale on 30 June 2010. It is expected to fetch £150,000 200,000.
Having spent three years repeatedly applying to the War Artists Advisory Committee (WAAC) to be a war artist, Bomberg was eventually commissioned to paint the bomb store for 25 guineas in February 1942. He spent two weeks 90 feet below ground in a disused gypsum mine, where 10,000 tons of bombs were stored in anticipation of future air raids on German cities.
His wife Lilian commented afterwards: I was a bit fearful when I learned David not only got lost among the bombs, but I knew how curiously he climbed, slithered and slid among and over the piles to get the angle and form of interest.
Two years later in November 1944, RAF Fauld accidentally blew up killing 68 people, with tremors felt as far away as Rome.
David Garshen Bomberg (5 December 1890 19 August 1957) was an English painter, and one of the Whitechapel Boys.
Bomberg was one of the most audacious of the exceptional generation of artists who studied at the Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks, and which included Mark Gertler, Stanley Spencer, C.R.W. Nevinson and Dora Carrington. Bomberg painted a series of complex geometric compositions combining the influences of cubism and futurism in the years immediately preceding World War I; typically using a limited number of striking colours, turning humans into simple, angular shapes, and sometimes overlaying the whole painting a strong grid-work colouring scheme. He was expelled from the Slade School of Art in 1913, with agreement between the senior teachers Tonks, Frederick Brown and Philip Wilson Steer, because of the audacity of his breach from the conventional approach of that time.
Whether because his faith in the machine age had been shattered by his experiences as a private soldier in the trenches or because of the pervasive retrogressive atitude towards modernism in Britain Bomberg moved to a more figurative style in the 1920s and his work became increasingly dominated by portraits and landscapes drawn from nature. Gradually developing a more expressionist technique he travelled widely through the Middle East and Europe.
From 1945 to 1953 he worked as a teacher at Borough Polytechnic (now London South Bank University) in London, where his pupils included Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Cliff Holden, Dorothy Mead, Dennis Creffield and Miles Richmond. David Bomberg House, one of the student halls of residences at London South Bank University, is named in his honour.
(With information from Wikipedia)