View into a sand-colored pit of a fortification, the left wall of which is secured by wooden logs and boards, on top of which are numerous wooden stakes probably for a barbed wire entanglement. In the pit numerous concrete and wooden debris. In the foreground two torn birch trunks, two more tree corpses and a guard soldier in blue uniform visible in the middle ground. In the background wide green hilly landscape, above a gray sky.
A picture that aptly illustrates the total destruction of the war and gains an unexpected artistic quality through the abstractness of chaos. It depicts the fortress of Przemysl, besieged for months by the Russian 11th Army, abandoned on 22.3.1915 after the garrison had blown up all the fortifications and destroyed all the war material. On July 3 and 4, 1915, the now worthless fortress was recaptured by the k.u.k. troops.
The work of destruction by his own army is realistically portrayed here by Adams. This context was probably not emphasized in the war exhibitions of the work, where war damage was usually attributed to the enemy. Also with this picture Adams dating (June) is too early by one month. It was probably made later (for example, when the picture was delivered to the war press headquarters, or before the exhibition in Vienna) and proves that dating of historical events by artists can also be incorrect and must therefore be cross-checked with other sources.
1915 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 60 1915/16 #1245)
1917 Künstlerhaus Vienna collective exhibition John Quincy Adams No. 13 (EL 61 1916/17 #513).
APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, 1995, p. 134, cat.#102, fig.#73.
From the artist to the k.u.k. Kriegspressequartier, from there to the k.u.k. Army Museum.
HGM Vienna Inv.#Inv.Nr.KBI157 Bez.Nr.2974/2007