Homage to Winston Churchill

Marius Boven (1896 - )

Oil on board

1978

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  • About the work
    The distinctive form of Second World War Spitfire airplanes cut across a cloudy sky above the white cliffs of Dover, as large war ships move forward through this fantastical landscape. A large hand emerges from the clouds forming the shape of the ‘V’ for ‘victory’ sign, referencing the BBC's V For Victory campaign of 1941, initiated by the Belgian Service and encouraged by the editors in charge of news broadcasts to Europe. It was famously adopted by Winston Churchill, the painting being titled in homage to him, who is further alluded to with the presence of a black top hat in the middle ground, as well as a cigar resting on a blue patterned plate to the bottom right. The sandy colour of the beach in the foreground doubles up as a table top on which are placed a gradation of four apples, evocative of still life painting, intersecting with a group of paintbrushes. The inclusion of the paintbrushes could both refer to Churchill’s own pictorial practice, as well as referencing the medium of painting in which this work is realised.
    The painting pastiches a surrealist manner, with which Brussels is associated with the figure of the painter Henri Magritte (1898–1967), a contemporary to Marius Boven born in 1896. The cultural movement of Surrealism emerged in 1917, rising to prominence in the 1920s–30s, and continuing to influence artists, notably in Britain, in the 1940s.
  • About the artist
    No biographical information is known of Marius Boven, except for his date of birth in 1896 and his gift of the painting 'Homage to Winston Churchill' (GAC 15316) to Sir Peter Wakefield for the British Embassy in Brussels, in 1978. Diplomat Sir Peter Wakefield served in the Army from 1942 to 1947. His last post as Ambassador was in Belgium from 1979 to 1981, retiring from the Foreign Office to become director of the National Art Collections Fund, and further supporting the arts through founding Asia House in London in 1996.
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  • Details
    Title
    Homage to Winston Churchill
    Date
    1978
    Medium
    Oil on board
    Dimensions
    height: 68.00 cm, width: 45.00 cm
    Acquisition
    Presented by the artist, 1978
    Inscription
    sdbl
    Provenance
    Presented to Sir Peter Wakefield for British Embassy, Brussels.
    GAC number
    15316