André Fougeron, Martyred Spain 1937 . Tate . © The estate of the André Fougeron

Room 3 in Artist and Society

Civil War

André Fougeron, Massacre at Sakiet III  1958

The bombing of Sakiet by the French colonial government took place during the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962). It was an important decolonial war, securing Algeria’s freedom. On 8 February 1958, the French air force crossed the border into Tunisia. They attacked Sakiet Sidi Yousef, a village which the French government claimed was being used as a base by Algerian fighters. It resulted in the deaths of 68 civilians. Fougeron’s painting, completed a few months later, provoked controversy. The line of military boots at the top points to official French involvement in the massacre, something that was still under debate at the time. The war is now known for the French government’s brutal method, including its use of torture.

Gallery label, June 2021

artworks in Civil War

Uzo Egonu, Woman in Grief  1968


Much of Egonu’s work from this period relates to the Biafran War (1967–70). Woman in Grief was painted in the same year as the two Battles of Onitsha in Nigeria. These were large-scale military conflicts between Biafran and Nigerian forces with high casualties on both sides. The events had particular significance for Egonu who was born in Onitsha. He left Nigeria at the age of thirteen to study in the United Kingdom. Deeply concerned for his family but without the means to return, he followed developments in Nigeria closely.

Gallery label, April 2019

artworks in Civil War

Peter de Francia, The Execution of Beloyannis  1953–4

artworks in Civil War

André Fougeron, Martyred Spain  1937

The Spanish Civil War marked a crucial political turning-point in the 1930s. General Franco’s rebellion against the elected left-wing government was seen as part of the wider threat posed by Fascism across Europe. Fougeron was among many Frenchmen who considered volunteering to fight in support of the Spanish government, but decided instead to devote his art to the cause. In Martyred Spain, the decaying body of a horse and a raped woman symbolise the innocent victims of a country devastated by conflict.

Gallery label, November 2015

artworks in Civil War

Art in this room

T07706: Massacre at Sakiet III
André Fougeron Massacre at Sakiet III 1958
T13897: Woman in Grief
Uzo Egonu Woman in Grief 1968
T14510: The Execution of Beloyannis
Peter de Francia The Execution of Beloyannis 1953–4
T07703: Martyred Spain
André Fougeron Martyred Spain 1937