I just finished Chronicle of Youth, the published diaries of Vera Brittain. I may be a soulless cynic, but the incessant “my Beloved” and the capitalized “He” when referring to her fiancé, Roland Leighton, made me roll my eyes a bit. Perhaps it brought up the bad memories of my diaries as a lovestruck teenager (Brittain was 21). Still, it must have captivated me because as late December 1915 came around I found myself dreading what was coming (SPOILER ALERT: Roland dies). It’s unfortunate that she doesn’t write regularly in 1916 through 1918 while she was in Malta then France.
That aside, the diaries introduced me to Dutch artist Louis Raemaekers. In 1916, Brittain and her mother go see an exhibit of his work and she writes that Raemaekers will be remembered as the artist of the war as Rupert Brooke was the poet of the war (it can be argued that Owen’s anti-war poetry has replaced Brooke’s patriotic and idealistic poetry).
Having never heard of this artist, I naturally googled him and found his postcards/illustrations very dark and moving. Some images remind me of Otto Dix’s work.
Below are some of his darker works (taken from this site), and I encourage you to take a look at the other illustrations! As I type this, I’m also looking for a book of his art.