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(Ruined church, Villers-Bretonneux)

circa 1919


Evelyn Chapman


25 Oct 1888 – 18 Jul 1961

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Villers-Bretonneux Somme France
    circa 1919
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil? on thick grey card
    41.3 x 56.3 cm board
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Bequest of Pamela Thalben-Ball 2015
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of the artist

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Evelyn Chapman

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Evelyn Chapman trained in Sydney under the Italian-born artist Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo, together with fellow students Grace Cossington Smith and Norah Simpson. She moved to Europe with her family in 1911 and attended the Académie Julian in Paris, gaining a classical training in life drawing. When war broke out in 1914, the family moved to London and Chapman spent time in St Ives, Cornwell, a thriving cosmopolitan colony for artists from around the world. She began painting vivid works in tempera and oil, which evidence her assimilation of French post-impressionist techniques.

    In early 1919, Chapman accompanied her father, a member of the New Zealand War Graves Commission, to France, visiting the area near Villers-Bretonneux where many Australian and New Zealand soldiers had lost their lives. Struck by the destruction she witnessed in the villages and cities, Chapman set up her easel and began to paint the ruined buildings and landscape, annihilated by years of continued bombardment.

    In a photograph taken of Chapman at Villers-Bretonneux in 1919, we see the artist seated amid the ruins of the church depicted in this unfinished painting. On her easel is a view of the landscape before her - a second variation now in the Australian War Memorial collection - and on her lap rests a wooden paint box, which now resides in the Gallery's artists' materials archvies.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Anne Gérard-Austin, Look, 'Remembering Evelyn Chapman: a new and unexpected bequest', pg. 14-15, Sydney, Apr 2015, 14, 15. pg. 14 features a photograph of the artist painting 'Ruined church, Villers-Bretonneux'

Other works by Evelyn Chapman

See all 15 works