Sauter, Rudolf

(1895 – 1977)

The Sinister Insect: The Dragon Fly, circa 1940


Signed, inscribed with title to reverse 

Watercolour, 11 x 15 1/2 in. (27.7 x 39.5 cm.)

1 in stock


Gvien by Sauter to the grandmother of the previous owner; private collection South Aftica, 2010

Exhibited: WW2 – War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 50; ‘Terrain & Conflict: Repercussions’, Young Gallery, Salisbury, November 10, 2018 – December 29, 2018

Literature: WW2 – War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 50, page 89.

During World War II, Rudolf Sauter was an Army Welfare Officer under South Eastern Command. Although he was never an official war artist the events he witnessed informed his work. 

This shows a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt a tremendously powerful aeroplane capable of lifting a heavy weapons pay-load, the Thuderbolts was used by the RAF as a ground-attack aircraft in the Far East. It had been designed for the United States Army Air Force as a high altitude fighter and was used in that role, but the RAF preferred Spitfires and Mustangs for that work. Sixteen RAF squadrons operated the type in South-East Asia equipping the aircraft with three 500lb bombs or with eight 60lb Rocket Projectiles below the outer wings. Though showing no American markings, this example appears to be the USAAF fighter version that was used to escort the bombers of the 8th US Air Force on their daylight missions over Germany. The Type’s eight ’50 caliber’ 0.5 inch machine guns mounted in the wings, gave it significant punch in combatting German fighters. 

We are grateful to Andrew Cormack for assistance.

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Sauter, Rudolf

1895 – 1977

Painter, printmaker, illustrator and poet. Father was Georg Sauter, an artist from Bavaria. During WW1 Rudolph was interned at Alexandra Palace, (from 1918-19), on account of the fact that his father Georg (who had already been interned in Prison in Wakefield in 1919) was German by birth. His mother was Lilian Galsworthy, daughter of John Galsworthy, the novelist and creator of The Forsyte Saga. Rudolph developed strong literary interests and illustrated John Galsworthy’s works. He painted a portrait of Galsworthy in 1927. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and the Pastel Society. When his work was shown at the Salon in Paris, he was awarded an Honourable Mention. His work was shown widely in the provinces and in America. He had one-man shows in London and New York.

His work is held by the National Portrait Gallery, the RWA and the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull. Much of his work was destroyed by a fire in the 1980s. There is a significant collection in private hands in South Africa. Although mostly a figurative painter, late in life he did a series of pastel abstracts. He celebrated his eightieth birthday with a glider flight. He lived at FORT WILLIAM, Butterow, near Stroud, Gloucestershire.

With thanks to


Searchlights along the Thames Estuary, October 1940
Bird’s-eye view over the Wing of an Aeroplane, circa 1945 (recto and verso)