Anthony Gross, an accomplished British artist, is widely celebrated for his vivid and compelling depictions of World War II.

Serving as an official war artist, Gross’s work provides an invaluable visual documentation of the war, capturing both the grim reality of conflict and the resilience of those who lived through it.

Early days

Anthony Gross was born on March 19, 1905, in Dulwich, London. His early artistic inclinations were nurtured through formal education at the Slade School of Fine Art and later at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His early works were characterized by a diverse range of styles and mediums, reflecting his extensive training and innate versatility.

Before the war, Gross had established himself as a talented illustrator and animator, with his work gaining recognition in both Britain and France.

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World War II

When World War II erupted, Gross's career took a dramatic turn. In 1940, he was appointed as an official war artist by the British War Artists' Advisory Committee (WAAC). This role required him to accompany British forces to document their experiences through his art.

Gross’s assignment took him to various theatres of war, including North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. His task was not just to create art but to capture the essence of war – the human emotions, the landscapes ravaged by conflict, and the daily lives of soldiers.

Gross’s work during the war is renowned for its authenticity and emotional depth. His sketches and paintings offer a raw and unfiltered look at the war. Unlike the romanticized images often associated with military heroism, Gross's work portrayed the stark reality of life on the front lines. His art depicted everything from the camaraderie of soldiers and the chaos of battle to the destruction of towns and the plight of civilians caught in the crossfire.

Notable works

One of Gross’s notable works is his depiction of the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa. His paintings and drawings from this period illustrate the harsh desert environment and the intense combat situations faced by Allied forces.

Similarly, his work from the D-Day landings and the subsequent push through Europe provides a poignant chronicle of these critical moments in history.

Legacy and Impact

Anthony Gross's contribution as a war artist extends beyond mere documentation. His work provides a powerful visual history that complements written and photographic records of the war. It offers a unique perspective that combines artistic expression with historical accuracy, allowing future generations to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of war.

After the war, Gross continued to work as an artist, exploring various themes and styles. However, his wartime work remains a significant part of his legacy. Today, his pieces are housed in major collections, including the Imperial War Museum in London, serving as a lasting tribute to his talent and the experiences he immortalized through his art.

Anthony Gross’s work as an official war artist stands as a testament to the power of art in capturing and conveying the human experience. Through his eyes, we see not just the events of World War II, but the enduring human spirit amidst the horrors of war. His legacy continues to educate and inspire, reminding us of the profound impact of conflict and the resilience of those who endure it.

Find out more about Anthony Gross on The Imperial War Museum website by


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