Przemysl destroyed station I 1915

Destroyed armored station (tank turret), the round lid of the cover with the cannon separated amid concrete rubble lying upside down. Above a flagpole with a tattered flag in Hungarian national colors, waving to the right. Background: wide green flat landscape, gray cloudy sky.

Oil on cardboard on canvass 63 x 47 cm.
Signature: Ɑdams Werk I.1. Przemysl 7. VI. 15 Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Wien HGM Inv. Nr. KBI154 Bez.Nr.2976/2007

Another picture that vividly illustrates the destruction of the war. The tattered flag serves as a symbol of how quickly military splendor and k.u.k. pomp were transformed into the reality of the war. Uniform splendor fade in the reality of war. The destruction of the armored tower, a massive concrete structure with a heavy iron flattened half-dome cover with a gun outlet, was in this case caused by the k.u.k. troops themselves. The Przemysl fortress, besieged by the Russian 11th Army for months, surrendered on March 22, 1915, after the garrison had blown up all the fortifications and destroyed all the war material. On June 3 and 4, 1915, the now worthless fortress was recaptured by the k.u.k. Army. Adams documented the scene in several pictures immediately afterwards.

The present picture is (plausibly) dated 7.VI, i.e. immediately after the recapture. The signature KBI154 (Kriegsbilderinventar) indicates that the picture was given directly from the k.u.k. Kriegspressequartier (War Press Corps) to the k.u.k.. Army Museum. War painters were expected to "turn in" a certain number of paintings (9 in Adams' case) that would remain in public collections. Adams produced about 50 works during his assignment as a war painter. The majority of them were sold. The purchase of paintings from the front was considered a "patriotic duty" and was in great demand.

Cross-references

Exhibited

1916 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 60 1915/16 #1247)
1917 Künstlerhaus Vienna Collective Exhibition John Quincy Adams No. 15 (EL 61 1916/17 #512)

1986 Academy Schillerplatz Vienna, Vienna Society in Portrait, Catalog No. 34.

Literature

Schaffer/Eisenburger 1986, exhibition catalog #34 (no ill.).

Provenance

From the artist to the Imperial and Royal War Press Corps and from there to the k.u.k. Army Museum in Vienna.
Army History Museum HGM Vienna inv.#KBI154 ref.#2976/2007.

Top