Mars His Idiot, 1937

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Kerr Eby served with the American army in France during the First World War (1914-18). His experiences on the frontlines convinced him of the absurdity of war and violence. In the years after the war's end, Eby produced a series of prints based largely on sketches he made during his military service. Some were documentary, others far darker in tone.

In 1935, fearing the imminent threat of a second European war, Eby wrote an emotional anti-war essay that appeared in a gallery catalogue for an exhibition of his war prints. In the last print of the series, issued in 1937, Eby portrays Mars, the Roman god of war, as a murderous and insatiable monster who devours soldiers and entire armies. The etching takes its title from a book of the same name by British writer Henry Major Tomlinson, a prominent anti-war advocate, and reflects Eby's grave concerns about the rising specter of war.

Mars His Idiot
Artist Life
Canadian (born Japan), 1889–1946
Accession Number
(The Old Print Shop, New York); sold to MIA, 1993.
Catalogue Raisonne
Giardina 190 vii/viii
Curator Approved

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