- Category Communication artifacts
- Sub-category Art
- Department Art and Memorials
- Museum CWM
- Earliest 1918
- Latest 1918
- Inscription Recto, lower right, in brown paint: F. H. VARLEY, Verso, stamp on back of canvas: CANADIAN WAR MEMORIALS, OTTAWA; 904, on tacking margin, upper right and lower right: PROPRIETE DE MUSEE DE GUERRE DU CANADA; 330 PROMENADE SUSSEX; OTTAWA ONT. K1A 0M3, lower centre, in graphite: #138, stencilled in black on horizental stretcher bars: 138, paper label: REG. NO. CASE NO.; CARNEGIE INSTITUTE, PITTSBURGH, U.S.A.; Title FOR WHAT.....?; PAINTER F.H. VARLEY.; OWNER CANADIAN WAR MEMORIALS; ADDRESS STUDIO. BLDGS. 25 SEVERN. ST: illegible; ATTACH SECURELY: ONE LABEL TO STRETCHER illegible; TO FRAME
- Medium oil
- Support canvas
- Materials Not applicable
- Service Component Canadian Expeditionary Force
- Measurements Height 147.4 cm, Width 180.6 cm
- Caption For What?, c. 1918
- Additional Information In a letter dating from mid-May 1919 to his wife, Maud, this eminent Canadian artist summed up his feelings about the war. "I'm mighty thankful I've left France - I never want to see it again. This last trip over has put the tin hat on it. To see the land half cultivated & people coming back to where their homes were is too much for my make up. You'll never know dear anything of what it means. I'm going to paint a picture of it, but heavens, it can't say a thousandth part of a story. We'd be healthier to forget, & that we never can. We are forever tainted with its abortiveness & its cruel drama - and for the life of me I don't know how that can help progression. It is foul and smelly - and heartbreaking. Sometimes I could weep my eyes out when I get despondent... To be normal, to be as those silly cows & sheep that do naught but graze & die, well, it's forgetfulness."
- Caption For What?
- Additional Information What do you think Varley is suggesting with this evocative work and title? Was the war pointless? If the war had been pointless, why had more than 400,000 Canadians continued to serve and fight overseas?
- Caption For What?
Frederick Varley's For What? portrays a cart filled with bodies collected from the battlefield. It starkly portrays the horror of war and questions its purpose.