Louis Duffy (1908-1998)

Louis Duffy (1908-1998) was a British artist and who worked and painted in World War II. Casualty no. 1 was one of two works by Louis Duffy to be illustrated in 1942 in Blitz, one of the series of morale-boosting War Pictures by British Artists booklets published by Oxford University Press in conjunction with the British War Artists’ Advisory Committee (WAAC). This small publication noted that Duffy was ‘serving in the Directorate of Camouflage, Ministry of Home Security’. Between 1940 and 1945 some 6000 works of art were produced for the WAAC by a wide spectrum of British artists, and the committee organized nine travelling exhibitions of war art for tour both within the United Kingdom and overseas. A key exhibition, Britain at War, was staged at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1941 and other displays travelled throughout the Commonwealth.16 Louis Duffy’s Casualty no. 1 was among the seventy-eight works included in the Exhibition of British War Pictures that toured throughout Australia in 1943. This exhibition was accompanied by a commentary by the journalist and travel writer Henry Vollam Morton who remarked upon how the average visitor will find himself judging a picture, not as a work of art, but as an interpretation of life in war-time. The pictures which stand out from their companions are those which tell a story and do not really require a title.