Howitzer battery in Vielgereuth 1915

for description s. below.

Oil on canvass, dimensions unknown.
Signature: John Q Ɑdams
Original lost.
Art postcard reproduction (private collection).

A heavy artillery piece on wheels is half buried in a position in the high mountains at the edge of the forest. Six soldiers in gray pants and dove blue uniform jackets surround the gun and prepare ammunition boxes. Two other soldiers in the background of the picture have just fired a second gun. The edge of the forest is characterized by sparse coniferous vegetation. In the foreground are scattered cleared branches, in the background a mountain range with snow-covered peaks is shown.

The painting depicts artillery combat in the high mountains on the plateau of Vielgereuth/Folgaria south of Trient/Trentino. The plateaus of Lavarone and Folgaria were the scene of the first military conflict between Italy and Austria-Hungary just west of the then Austrian-Italian state border. Starting on May 23, 1915, the Italian army tried to break through the Austro-Hungarian fortified barricade set up on the Folgaria plateau. The fighting ended with the start of the Austro-Hungarian South Tyrol offensive in June 1916 and the consequent shift of the front to the southeast. However, the positions in Folgaria remained of great strategic importance and were visited twice (16.1. and 15.5.) by Emperor Charles in 1917.

In 1915, after frontline visits in the East and on the Balkans, Adams went to the Dolomite front at the end of August/beginning of September, where he remained until the end of 1915. Due to the vegetation shown, the painting is probably one of the first Adams completed (probably in early September). The painting was subsequently exhibited promptly at the Künstlerhaus as "Firing Heavy Howitzer Battery III/3 on the Plateau of Folgaria" (EL 1915/16 Vol.60 #1605). The painting is most likely identical (or exists in a second version) to the painting "Howitzer Battery in Vielgereuth", which was also exhibited at the Künstlerhaus in 1916/17 (EL 1916/17 Vol.61 #523). The work has since been lost and is documented only by an art postcard reproduction, which is reproduced here.

Cross-references

Exhibited

1915 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 60 #1605.
1916/17 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 61 #523, 20).

Literature

APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 129, cat.#95, fig.#68.

Provenance

1915 Künstlerhaus Vienna, received 1.11.1915 by Susie Arras.
1916/17 Künstlerhaus Vienna, 2000 Kr, received 27.3.1917 by Johannes Hornig.
Painting(s) lost.

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