Period: The war years

Flight from reason Flight from reason
painted in London, 1941
oil on cardboard 65.4 x 54.7 cm
inscribed on reverse, top c., pencil “Flight from reason/₤15.50/ Stella Bowen”, not dated
private collection

Stella Bowen painted the effects of the blitz on London’s buildings. The sculptures and monuments she depicted in this view of the Inner Temple appeared to her “untouched and complacent, amid the wreckage”.

Flight from reason was exhibited in Wartime experience in art: the Artist’s International Association underground at Charing Cross in 1941. Bowen mused that it was “bought by a Major-something-or-other after being well noticed by the press, & reproduced (with half a dozen others) in the Sketch of Oct 8th and also reproduced in The Studio.” This public success spurred her on to continue to pursue the idea of painting “London in ruins”, despite the danger.