PAFA Plans for Major WW1 Art Exhibiton in 2016

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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) will open a substantial new exhibition in 2016 which examines the effect of World War I on American art.  According to Dr. Robert Cozzolino, lead Curator for the project, “World War I and American Art” will seek to dispel a long-held notion in art history that the First World War had little impact on the work of artists in the United States.

The exhibition will consist of some 115 art objects including sculpture and photographs as well as paintings and drawings by noted artists such as Frederick Childe Hassam, Hugh Henry Breckenridge, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keefe, Horace Pippin, Charles Burchfield, the brothers Ivan and Melvin Albright, and Claggett Wilson.

Hugh Henry Breckenridge "The Pestilence" 1918

Hugh Henry Breckenridge “The Pestilence” 1918

The three major themes of “World War I and American Art” will consist of American reactions to the war prior to 1917, America’s entry and participation, and finally the Armistice and the war’s aftermath.  Reactions to the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, an examination of Hassam and Hartley’s flag paintings, and the concept of outrage as reflected in illustrations from “The Masses” magazine will be featured in the pre-entry portion of the exhibit, while some works by Georgia O’Keefe and Charles Burchfield, as well as American examples of Dadaism will be used to examine private reactions to the war by American artists.  Within the mobilization and participation section, works by official war artists will be featured, as well as portrayals of women in both traditional and non-traditional roles.  The works of soldier-artists Horace Pippin and Claggett Wilson will be exhibited among paintings depicting the American experience in the war, and Ivan Albright’s work drawing wounds and medical procedures at an American hospital near Nantes will be used examine their impact on the artist’s later works.  Posters produced during the war for recruitment and mobilization will also be prominently featured.

Lusitania poster

“World War I and American Art” will open at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on November 11, 2016, and run through April 9, 2017 after which it will travel to other venues.  Working with lead Curator Robert Cozzolino, will be independent art curator Anne C. Knutson, and Professor David Lubin of Wake Forest University.

For more information on the exhibition, visit PAFA here.