Destroyed bridge Chernivtsi 1915

Picture description see below.

JQAW# G_1915_120
Oil on canvas on cardboard 33 x 47 cm.
Signature: J.Q. Ɑdams Czernowitz 29. VI. 15. Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Wien HGM Inv. Nr. KBI155 Bez. Nr. 2971/2007 (Czernowitz, bridge over the Pruth blown up by the Russians.)
Also reproduced as an art postcard in 1917.

View of a crumbled bridge, its iron girder structure broken apart in the middle and collapsed into the river bank, its ends still in the abutments. Next to it a makeshift bridge on numerous wooden piers, crossed by a platoon of troops. Riverbank landscape, wooden piers and logs on the beach. Beyond the riverbank hilly landscape with houses, in the distance a mountain range.

The picture impressively depicts the horrors and destruction of the war. The bridge over the Pruth River near Chernivtsi (Czernowitz, Bukovina) was blown up by Russian troops (XXXII Corps) during the fighting on the Eastern Front in Bukovina. The course of the war on the Eastern Front in 1915 was at best mixed for the k.u.k. Army: after months of siege (and enormous losses) the fortress of Przemysl fell to the Russians, and in May it was retaken by the Austrians with heavy losses, with the Russian troops in turn destroying important infrastructures such as the Pruth Bridge in the Adams Picture.

In June/July 1915, the frontal advance was characterized by a constant back and forth, with all Adams pictures of the Eastern Front of this period (see cross-references) being taken during (for the Austrians) successful phases of the war. Remarkable however is that many of Adams' pictures depict the effects of the war naturalistically, although some contain propagandistic themes and motivs (including mei Heimatland, Pater Levolegard, or Feldküche), but these (with the exception of Feldküche) were made earlier and on the Dolomite front. Obviously, as the war progressed, Adams became increasingly aware of the reality of war (albeit from an extremely privileged position as a member of the war press corps). This increasing awareness of the realities of war, which is also reflected in his pictures, changed his attitude (and also brought him into conflict with the War Ministry for alleged insubordination, see blog entry Adams im Krieg [in progress]).


Austellung Kriegspressequartier:
1915 Wien #78
1916 Graz #64
1916 Stuttgart #?

1917 Künstlerhaus Wien #14
1961 HGM Wien #24

1986 Academy Schillerplatz, Viennese Society in Portrait, Catalog No. 35.


Schaffer/Eisenburger 1986, exhibition catalog #35 (no ill.).

APH, Werksverzeichnis JQA 1995, 1995, p. 135, cat.#103, ill.#74.

Bilder aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg, Katalog, HGM Wien, H Zatschek (Hrsg), Text L Popelka, Kat #24, Abb.6.


Kriegspressequartier an k.u.k. Kriegsministerium.
HGM Wien Inv. Nr. KBI155