Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Spud piers with dazzle camouflage being prepared for the D-Day Normandy Landings


SKU: 8567
Signed and dated, stamped to the reverse ‘Passed for publication, 24 May 1945, Ministry of Information’ 
15 1/2 x 22 3/4 in. ( 39.5 x 57.8 cm)

Height – 39.5cm x Width – 57.8cm

1 in stock


The Artist’s Family

During World War II, Rudolf Sauter was an Army Welfare Officer under South Eastern Command. Although he was never an official war artist he recorded significant events that he witnessed. This watercolours shows  so called Spud piers being prepared for the D-Day landings in Normandy. The tall objects like chimneys are the legs that support a landing platform (which  could be raised or lowered to suit the tide). Armaments and supplies were landed at these Spud piers and then taken by a floating causeway to the shore. 

They were used at several landing places, including the most famous and bloodiest, Omaha Beach. They were only installed after troops had secured the beach and its immediate hinterland. Sauter probably painted this before the landings – in the months leading up to June 1944 – but as D-Day was an intensely secret operation it wasn’t passed for publication until after the war in Europe ended (may 8, 1945). It is also possible that it was drawn in situ, in Normandy sometime after D-Day. 
The Normandy landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.

We are grateful to Ian Jack for assistance.

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Rudolf Sauter
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


SKU: 8563

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

The Retreat Pub Ledbury, 1950’s


SKU: 8565

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

View from an aeroplane, over snow-capped Sierras, 1959


SKU: 8566

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Landscape around Stroud


SKU: 8567

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Spud piers with dazzle camouflage being prepared for the D-Day Normandy Landings


SKU: 8562

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Bird’s-eye view over the Wing of an Aeroplane, circa 1945 (recto and verso)


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Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Quarry processing plant


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Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)



SKU: 8536

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Around the Malvern Hills


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Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

The artist’s wife Viola with a parasol, circa 1920


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Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Portrait of Arthur William Symons (British poet, critic and translator), 1935


SKU: 7884

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Four masted Barque


SKU: 7877

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Lilian Sauter Galsworthy, the artist’s mother, 1923


SKU: 7879

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

The artist’s wife Viola, 1924


SKU: 4406

Rudolf Sauter (1895 - 1977)

Study for The Phantom Eyre, circa 1940