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Percy Smith

1882 - 1948

Death Intoxicated by Percy Smith

Death Intoxicated   1919

  Original etching.
Signed and titled in pencil.
S 266 x 314 mm; P & I 202 x 250 mm
Signed proof impression; from the only edition of 100 signed proofs, as issued in the series of seven etchings entitled The Dance of Death.

The Dance of Death is considered to be Percy Smith’s greatest series of etchings. One of the most important and solemn statements on the First World War in art, it shows seven visions of Death in various roles, amongst living, dying and dead soldiers.

Death Intoxicated forms the climax of Percy Smith’s The Dance of Death series. Death has now abandoned all his poses of meditation or expectancy and dances in delight, intoxicated with glee by the poisonous gas which surrounds him, whilst scenes of carnage fill the lightly etched background. In the foreground a British footsoldier, gasmask on, charges with his bayonet – this was the true reality of war at its most Hellish.

The prominent etcher E.S. Lumsden commented on this series of etchings in his leading work The Art of Etching (London, 1925) “…in time these plates will, I feel sure, be looked upon as the most searching commentary…produced in this country: perhaps in any.”

On heavy wove paper with full margins. Foxed; corner of sheet missing. The missing corner of the image has been made-up by an image set on the mount backboard. Due to its condition, this item is offered primarily for documentary/study purposes – this is reflected in the price.