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Art in the Archives: Art and Struggle

These documents illustrate the responses of artists to challenges in the world at large.


"An art that is not free soon dies”

This drawing by the Spanish sculptor Victorio Macho is reproduced in an article on him entitled ‘Sculptor of the Republic’ in the first edition of Spain at War: a monthly journal of facts and pictures, which was published in London in April 1938 by supporters of the Republican government in the Spanish Civil War. “I love the people of Spain”, Macho is quoted as saying at the end of the article, “the people of the fields and streets. They are Spain, and I am on their side. If necessary, I shall die with them.” Tip: you might get a better view of the image by clicking or tapping on it.

Maitland Sara Hallinan collection: 15X/1/293/1 page 20

Drawing of his nephew by Victorio Macho, c1938


“The tragedy of Guernica”

Leaflet promoting the exhibition in London of Pablo Picasso’s famous painting commemorating the bombing of civilians in the Basque city during the Spanish Civil War, 1938. The exhibition was part of a fund-raising campaign to assist victims of the war. Tip: you might get a better view of the image by clicking or tapping on it.

Trades Union Congress archive: MSS.292/946/18b/66

Part of leaflet promoting exhibition of Picasso’s \


Artists against war and fascism

The Artists International Association had been formed in September 1933 (five years before the publication of this leaflet) with the aim of improving the lot of artists and promoting peace and freedom. Tip: you might get a better view of the image by clicking or tapping on it.

Trades Union Congress archive: MSS.292/812/3

Part of Artists International Association leaflet, 1938


"Art in the service of the working people”

Cover of booklet describing the exhibition organised in 1974 by the Art-Workers Sub-Committee of the Artists’ Union in tribute to the miners’ recently successful strike over pay. It includes a leftist critique of both the mass media and the artistic avant garde. Tip: you might get a better view of the image by clicking or tapping on it.

Miscellaneous Series: MSS.21/791

Booklet on exhibition organised by Art-Workers Sub-Committee of the Artists’ Union, 1974

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