Sunday, 4 June 2017

Soldier & Girl at Station

A soldier and his girl share a long embrace at a train station.  Is he departing or arriving?  The picture does not say.  I get the impression that the soldier is departing as the scene looks quiet and sad rather than happy and exuberant.  They are the only two people on the platform, as if the rest of the world does not exist. It's likely a scene that Alex Colville witnessed dozens of times in his work as a war artist.  One blogger explains:  "It was the accompanying sketches that Colville drew, before going off to war, of the same scene, but crowded and bustling with other passengers."  The painting, completed in 1953, is both a testament to the blinding effect of love and the lonely effect of war.

Colville based the station on the Sackville Train Station in New Brunswick which precedes the Amherst, Nova Scotia Station, Colville's home as a boy.  While Soldier & Girl at Station disappeared for decades into private collections, it resurfaced in recent years and sold at auction for over $663,000.

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