A Dawn by CRW Nevinson draws ‘without pageantry’ on the artist’s experience as a volunteer ambulance driver in France

When A Dawn, a painting by CRW Nevinson of haggard French troops marching to the front in 1914, was last sold in 1964, it fetched £300. Now regarded as one of the English artist’s finest works, and as one of the great paintings of the first world war, it is to be auctioned by Sotheby’s with a guide price of up to £1m.

“I hesitate to say a career-best, because it makes the rest of my career seem rather boring, but I never expect to handle a better painting by Nevinson,” said Simon Hucker, an expert at Sotheby’s on 20th century British art. “It is a great painting, every inch of the canvas fully resolved, down to the way the men break down at the very back of the picture into mere geometric forms

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