Military leaders felt that art could capture the true essence of war.
So they called upon eight men from the industry and sent them to France: six book and magazine illustrators—William James Aylward (1875-1956), Walter Jack Duncan (1881-1941), Harvey Thomas Dunn (1884-1952), George Matthews Harding (1882-1959), Wallace Morgan (1875-1948), Harry Everett Townsend (1879-1941), one an architect and etcher J. André Smith (1880-1959), and one “pure artist” Ernest Clifford Peixotto (1869-1940). The military made them captains in the Army Corps of Engineers and gave them free range. “They could go anywhere they wanted to go,” says historian Alfred Cornebise, author of Art from the Trenches: America’s Uniformed Artists in World War I.
Throughout 1918, prior to the war’s end in November, the artists produced some 700 works, ranging from charcoal sketches to completed ink or watercolor compositions. Bart Hacker, a curator at the National Museum of American History, says the artists depicted four types of scenes: soldier life (washing up, meal time); combat, aftermaths of war (destroyed churches, devastated fields); and technology. In one image, wounded men carry the fallen through trenches and barbed wire. In another, soldiers on horseback travel through a destroyed French village. Notably, Hacker says, the artists did not depict dead bodies.
"American Infantry Advancing with Tanks" by George Matthews Harding
Posted by gerardvanderleun at August 14, 2014 8:05 AM
Cleaning Out Boche Machine Gun Nest by George Matthews Harding