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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
This thread is dedicated to the discussion of art forms of World War I.

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Art from Different Fronts of World War One
By Roger Tolson

"The Western Front of World War One was a short train journey away from central London. The British government took advantage of this by commissioning paintings based on scenes seen at first hand, from the leading artists of the day. They sent artists to cover other aspects of the war as well - on the home and diplomatic fronts.

The intention was to use these images for propaganda purposes, and also as a way of commemorating the war and the people caught up in it. Many of the artists fulfilled this brief admirably, some also taking the opportunity to examine the moral issues surrounding the war in the process."

Source: BBC

message 3: by Harvey (new)

Harvey | 286 comments Yes.... interesting thread.. John Singer Sargent was, as Bernard Levin has quoted "another Anigoni", a bit damning but Orpen and Spencer I put on another plane. I have not crystallized my thoughts on this one but Grosz in Germany post WWI certainly did much to change artistic sensibilities and make a great point about the war. (my view)

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Thanks Harvey for your input on this.

message 5: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here's a link to an artist who produced some wonderful but very touching and emotive works covering WW1 from an Australian perspective:

Will Longstaff

And one of his more famous works:

Menin Gate at Midnight

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Wow...Aussie Rick...a very impressive work. Thank you.

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 26, 2010 09:43PM) (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Here is a list of painters/artists from the World War I time period:


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Here is a guided tour -

100 Paintings from International Collections to Commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the end of the First World War: (as of 1998)

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Very interesting introduction about the art of this period and the artists who for the most part were all soldiers themselves:

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
This is a great webpage on the art of this war including posters.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 26, 2010 10:20PM) (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
This one is pretty amazing...done by John Singer Sargent (the same artist who did the painting of President Theodore Roosevelt which is our current avatar)

[image error]

John Singer Sargent, Gassed (1918)

"In 1918, the British Ministry of Information commissioned the American painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) to contribute a large-scale work to a planned Hall of Remembrance commemorating Anglo-American cooperation. Travelling to the front in July 1918, Sargent witnessed the harrowing aftermath of mustard gas attacks, which became the subject of this new work, Gassed - a six-metre-long tableau depicting a procession of wounded men stumbling, blindfolded, towards a dressing station.

While this painting, completed in 1919, is not representative of the illustrious portraitist's oeuvre, it has become widely recognised as an embodiment of the pain of war in a strangely serene and dignified manner. Virginia Woolf, in her essay The Fleeting Portrait, wrote of Gassed that it "at last pricked some nerve of protest, or perhaps of humanity". It now hangs in the Imperial War Museum in London."

Other write-up:

John Singer Sargent's painting Gassed hangs in the Imperial War Museum in London; the canvas is over seven feet high and twenty feet long. This impressive painting depicts soldiers blinded by gas being led in lines back to the hospital tents and the dressing stations; the men lie on the ground all about the tents waiting for treatment.

"With mustard gas the effects did not become apparent for up to twelve hours. But then it began to rot the body, within and without. The skin blistered, the eyes became extremely painful and nausea and vomiting began. Worse, the gas attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. The pain was almost beyond endurance and most cases had to be strapped to their beds. Death took up to four or five weeks. A nurse wrote:

I wish those people who write so glibly about this being a holy war and the orators who talk so much about going on no matter how long the war lasts and what it may mean, could see a case--to say nothing of ten cases--of mustard gas in its early stages--could see the poor things burnt and blistered all over with great mustard-coloured suppurating blisters, with blind eyes . . . all sticky and stuck together, and always fighting for breath, with voices a mere whisper, saying that their throats are closing and they know they will choke."

This passage is from John Ellis, Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I, (1976), pp. 66-7.

Who was John Singer Sargent?

John Singer Sargent, the son of an American doctor, was born in Florence in 1856. He studied painting in Italy and France and in 1884 caused a sensation at the Paris Salon with his painting of Madame Gautreau. Exhibited as Madame X, people complained that the painting was provocatively erotic.

The scandal persuaded Sargent to move to England and over the next few years established himself as the country's leading portrait painter. This included portraits of Joseph Chamberlain (1896), Frank Swettenham (1904) and Henry James (1913). Sargent made several visits to the USA where as well as portraits he worked on a series of decorative paintings for public buildings such as the Boston Public Library (1890) and the Museum of Fine Arts (1916).

In 1918 Sargent was commissioned to paint a large painting to symbolize the co-operation between British and American forces during the First World War. Sargent was sent to France with the British painter, Henry Tonks. One day Sargent visited a casualty clearing station at Le Bac-de-Sud. While at the casualty station he witnessed an orderly leading a group of soldiers that had been blinded by mustard gas. He used this as a subject for a naturalist allegorical frieze depicting a line of young men with their eyes bandaged. Gassed soon became one of the most memorably haunting images of the war.

While in France Sargent also painted The Interior of a Hospital Tent (1918) and A Street in Arras (1918). John Singer Sargent died in 1925.

His Image:



Eye-Deep in Hell Trench Warfare in World War I by John Ellis John Ellis

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Here is a great url which discusses the artists of this time period:

Source: Sparticus Educational

message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod

message 14: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Canadian-born millionaire, Max Aitken, who became Lord Beaverbrook in 1916, established the Canadian War Records Office in London during the war. Under its auspices, he also established the Canadian War Memorials Fund for which he hired artists to capture the Canadian war experience. You can see some of the 1000 works here.
Be sure to explore the other pages as well.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 29, 2010 06:42AM) (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Thank you very much Gabriele..I appreciate the add.

Some of these are amazing: The Road to Ypres Through Vlamertinghe by Lieut. C. H. Barraud

The Road to Ypres Through Vlamertinghe
By Lieut. C. H. Barraud
This village lies on the main Ypres-Poperinghe road about midway between the desert of Ypres and the half inhabited town of Poperinghe. Night and day traffic of war rumbled through it. This is a fine strong composition etched on a zinc plate, and somewhat suggestive in quality of the rich wood cuts of past ages.

[image error]

message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 29, 2010 06:35AM) (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
Here is a World War I art slide show.

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
World War One Art In France & Flanders A Musical Slideshow

message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
World War I Photo Archive:

message 19: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments You can order posters of some of the Beaverbrook WW1 art collection at the Canadian War Museum's online store here -

Included here for sale is also the marvellous and eerie William Longstaff painting "The Ghosts of Vimy Ridge", which also hangs on my office wall. : )

message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 40075 comments Mod
I will have to look for that Gabriele and thank you for the heads up.

message 21: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4077 comments Mod
A Terrible Beauty: War, Art and the Imagination 1914-1918

A Terrible Beauty War, Art and the Imagination 1914-1918 by Paul Gough by Paul Gough (no photo)


The work of Britain’s war artists has been well documented, but Dr Paul Gough’s penetrating survey throws new light on their motivations, responses to the conflict and their unique, and widely varying, interpretations of the effects on the combatants. His book provides new insights into the work of the major and lesser-known artists of the First World War, including David Bomberg, Muirhead Bone, Sidney Jones, Henry Lamb, Adrian Hill, Paul Maze, John Nash, Paul Nash, Nevinson, Orpen, William Roberts, William Rothenstein, Stanley Spencer, Harold Williamson, and Wyndham Lewis.

message 22: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) They may not be art but these propaganda posters are still known world-wide.......the British poster of Lord Kitchener and the US poster of Uncle Sam.

message 23: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4077 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: November 25, 2014

Nothing but the Clouds Unchanged: Artists in World War I

Nothing but the Clouds Unchanged Artists in World War I by Gordon Hughes by Gordon Hughes (no photo)


Much of how World War I is understood today is rooted in the artistic depictions of the brutal violence and considerable destruction that marked the conflict. Nothing but the Clouds Unchanged examines how the physical and psychological devastation of the war altered the course of twentieth-century artistic Modernism. Following the lives and works of fourteen artists before, during, and after the war, this book demonstrates how the conflict and the resulting trauma actively shaped artistic production. Featured artists include Georges Braque, Carlo Carrà, Otto Dix, Max Ernst, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka, Käthe Kollwitz, Fernand Léger, Wyndham Lewis, André Masson, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Nash, and Oskar Schlemmer. Materials from the Getty Research Institute’s special collections—including letters, popular journals, posters, sketches, propaganda, books, and photographs—situate the works of the artists within the historical context, both personal and cultural, in which they were created.

message 24: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War

A Crisis of Brilliance Five Young British Artists and the Great War by David Boyd Haycock by David Boyd Haycock(no photo)


Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, Christopher Nevinson, and Stanley Spencer were five of the most important British artists of the twentieth century. From diverse backgrounds, they met at The Slade in London between 1908 and 1910, in what was later described as the school’s “last crisis of brilliance.” Between 1910 and 1918 they loved, talked, and fought; they admired, conspired, and sometimes disparaged each others’ artistic creations. They created new movements; they frequented the most stylish cafés and restaurants and founded a nightclub; they slept with their models and with prostitutes; and their love affairs descended into obsession, murder, and suicide.

message 25: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (last edited Dec 04, 2015 08:32AM) (new)

Jerome | 4077 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: March 11, 2016

Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War

Grand Illusions American Art and the First World War by David Lubin by David Lubin (no photo)


A vivid, engaging account of the famous and forgotten artists and artworks that sought to make sense of America's first total war.

Despite the prevailing view of World War I's general lack of impact on American Art, David Lubin takes readers on a journey through the major historical events during and immediately after the war to discover the often missed vast and pervasive influence of the Great War on American visual culture. Grand Illusions presents a highly original examination of the era's artworks that range from patriotic idealism to profound disillusionment.

In several stylishly written chapters, Lubin assesses the war's impact on two dozen painters, designers, photographers, and film makers from 1914 to 1933. In addition to profiles of famous and forgotten artists from D.W. Griffith and John Singer Sargent to neglected soldier-painter Claggett Wilson and the African American outsider artist Horace Pippin, the book features illustrations from epoch-defining films, sculptures, photographs and paintings. Armed with rich cultural-historical details and an interdisciplinary narrative approach, David Lubin creatively upends traditional understandings of the Great War's effects on the visual arts in America.

message 26: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thanks, Jerome.

message 27: by Jill (last edited Aug 22, 2016 10:44AM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Art from the Trenches: America's Uniformed Artists in World War I

Art from the Trenches America's Uniformed Artists in World War I by Alfred E. Cornebise by Alfred E. Cornebise (no photo)


Since ancient times, wars have inspired artists and their patrons to commemorate victories. When the United States finally entered World War I, American artists and illustrators were commissioned to paint and draw it. These artists’ commissions, however, were as captains for their patron: the U.S. Army. The eight men—William J. Aylward, Walter J. Duncan, Harvey T. Dunn, George M. Harding, Wallace Morgan, Ernest C. Peixotto, J. Andre Smith, and Harry E. Townsent—arrived in France early in 1918 with the American Expeditionary forces (AEF).

Alfred Emile Cornebise presents here the first comprehensive account of the U.S. Army art program in World War I. The AEF artists saw their role as one of preserving images of the entire aspect of American involvement in a way that photography could not.

Unsure of what to do with these official artists, AEF leadership in France issues passes that allowed them relative freedom to move about, sketching as they went and finding supplies and lodgings where they could. But the bureaucratic confusion over the artists’ mission soon created controversy in Washington. The army brass there was dismayed at the slow trickle of art coming in and at some of the bucolic, behind-the-lines scenes, which held little promise as dramatic magazine illustrations or propaganda.

The Armistice came only a matter of months after the American Artists arrived in France, and they marched into the Rhineland with the American occupation forces, sketching along the way. Soon returning to France the artists went into separate studios to finish their works, but the army hurriedly discharged them and they were civilian artists once more.

The author conducted research for this book in the World War I army records in the National Archives, as well as the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, and others throughout the country. The sixty-six black-and-white pictures reproduced here are some of the approximately five hundred pieces of official AEF combat art, which shortly after the war were turned over to the Smithsonian Institution, where most of them remain.

message 28: by Dylan (new)

Dylan Van | 1 comments Can any one tell me what the advantages were of paintings compared to photographs in World War 1, (take in mind technical limitations of photography and nature of warfare)?

message 29: by Jill (last edited Sep 18, 2016 12:29PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I think we are talking about 2 mediums here, Dylan and each has a different point of reference. Photography shows us the "true" subject matter (I hate to use the word "true" but it will do for lack of a better term) other words, it does not leave much to the interpretation of the viewer. It is what it is.

Painting is another matter......the painter is setting the scene and his/her interpretation of what is being presented. The painting is how s/he sees it and is colored by the artist's preconceived ideas and feelings about the subject matter.

Advantages?......I guess it depends on what you are looking for. There are many paintings, for example, of the Angels of Mons which were reported by the BEF during that horrid battle. Was it myth, battle hysteria, or reality. But you will not find any photographs of the it is truly subjective for the individual looking for representations of the Great War. I hope that helps.

message 30: by Jill (last edited Oct 23, 2016 11:10PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Beauty from the Battlefield is part of the British Imperial War Museum collection. Visit this site to see the amazing trench art done by soldiers during World War I.

(Source: IWM)

message 31: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The author describes the influence that WWI had on art and the rise of modernism.

Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age

Rites of Spring The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age by Modris Eksteins by Modris Eksteins Modris Eksteins


Dazzling in its originality, Rites of Spring probes the origins, impact, and aftermath of World War I, from the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring in 1913 to the death of Hitler in 1945. Recognizing that “The Great War was the psychological turning point . . . for modernism as a whole,” author Modris Eksteins examines the lives of ordinary people, works of modern literature, and pivotal historical events to redefine the way we look at our past and toward our future.

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