A response to Wilfred Owen's poems by William Utermohlen
The lithographs of William Utermohlen
Ten poems of Wilfred Owen
Published 4 November 2018 for the 100th anniversary of the death of Wilfred Owen and also the centenary of the end of World War I
To download a free PDF copy of the book click here
The exhibition catalogue to show at GV Art London in 2012 William Utermohlen - A Retrospective is available here.
The giclee prints and lithographs of William Utermohlen’s works are available in our shop
Watch the interview with Patricia Utermohlen talking about William’s work on Vimeo
William Utermohlen (1933–2007)
In 1994 William created ten lithographic illustrations for a book of Wilfred Owen's famous World War One poems published in Paris by Nova et Vetera. Sliding and falling figures of wounded soldiers indicate a pre-occupation with disorientation and traumatic experience. Executed the year before his diagnosis these images have a premonitory quality. They also stem from the artist’s lifelong fascination with war and soldiers and memories of his own military service in the American army in the 1950s. The precise contours of the figures and their uniforms contrast with the soft textures of the backgrounds. William highlights the powdery quality unique to lithography from stone achieving a great delicacy of surface, further reinforced by watercolour washes. This delicacy of tone acts as a foil to the tragic and painful scenes of death and wounding. It adds a meditative quality to the series and expresses the artist’s compassion and pity for the doomed young men in the poems.
Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918)
Wilfred Owen was born near Oswestry, Shropshire, where his father worked on the railway. He was educated at the Birkenhead Institute, Liverpool and Shrewsbury Technical College. He worked as a pupil-teacher in a poor country parish before a shortage of money forced him to drop his hopes of studying at the University of London. He then took up a teaching post in Bordeaux (1913). He was tutoring in the Pyrenees when war was declared and he enlisted shortly afterwards.
In 1917 he suffered severe concussion and 'trench-fever' whilst fighting on the Somme and spent a period recuperating at Craiglockart War Hospital, near Edinburgh. It was here that he met Siegfried Sassoon who read his poems, suggested how they might be improved, and offered him much encouragement.
He was posted back to France in 1918 where he won the MC before being killed on the Sombre Canal a week before the Armistice was signed.