Chinese Bomb and Victims, from the "War" Series

Chinese Bomb and Victims, from the "War" Series


Nancy Spero

(American, 1926-2009)

Gouache and ink on paper

Sheet: 86.4 x 69.2 cm (34 x 27 1/4 in.); Framed: 96.5 x 78.7 cm (38 x 31 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2009.273



A first-generation feminist artist, Spero was born in Cleveland and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1959, she and her husband, the artist Leon Golub, moved to Paris, then relocated to New York City in 1964 where they were confronted with the escalating American action in Vietnam. She ended the existential mood of her early work and started working rapidly on paper, what she described as "angry works, manifestos against [the] war." The War series was Spero’s first complete body of work on paper and is now considered her first major achievement as an artist. Painted with watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, they are passionate, messy works that eschew order and control. As she described it, the War series "became exorcisms to keep the war away."

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