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World War II Artists

In the months following Pearl Harbor, thousands of men enlisted in the armed forces. Many artists joined up and began to practice their trade as soldier-artists by decorating barracks and mess halls with murals depicting military subjects. Some of these painters became the nucleus of the art programs established by the War Department in 1942 and 1943. While the army project was cancelled by Congress in August 1943, a number of artists were taken on by Life magazine and other publications. The army reinstated an art program in 1944 which lasted through the duration of the war. Other artists could be found in the ranks of the Marine Corps, the Women's Army Corps, the Army Air Corps and the Coast Guard, while still others served in combat battalions, camouflage units, or as official photographers.


ARNEST, Bernard: B. Denver, Colorado, 1917. Joined Army Signal Corps in 1941; became war artist in Iceland in 1943, and later, Chief Artist, Historical Section, in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) from 1944 until his discharge as first lieutenant in 1945. He covered the Battle of the Bulge and was on one of the first patrols to meet with Russian troops. D. Colorado Springs, Colorado 1986. A Company (1944)
ARNETT, Walter W.: B. Salyersville, Kentucky, 1912. Enlisted October 1942 and assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion. After training in camouflage deception at Fort Meade in 1943, he became part of a special secret unit, the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops in January 1944 and embarked for Europe. Served in Belgium, France, Holland, Luxembourg and Germany. Encouraged by his officers, he did numerous cartoons to improve the morale of his fellow soldiers. H. Louisville, Kentucky. Flat Tire at German Border (1945)
BALDWIN, Richard Wood: B. Needham, Massachusetts, 1920. After training at Pendleton Field, Oregon, in aerial and ground photography, he served with the 20th Air Force as public relations photographer and artist. Stationed on Iwo Jima and later covered the surrender of the Japanese forces in Tokyo Bay in August 1945. H. West Chester, Pennsylvania. Group of Soldiers in front of plane (1941)
BENNEY, Robert: B. New York City, 1904. Contracted by Abbott Pharmaceuticals of Chicago to do free-lance work depicting scenes of the medical services in the war. Saw action in the Northern Marianas and Saipan. H. New York City. Sgt. James Webb (1944)
BLAIR, Robert Noel: B. Buffalo, New York, 1912. Served as a sergeant in the 17th and 82nd Airborne Divisions and later in the Intelligence Section. Travelled through Britain, France, Belgium (during the Battle of the Bulge), and Germany. H. Holland, New York.
BOHROD, Aaron:
B. Chicago, Illinois 1907. One of the original artists employed in the 1943 War Art Program in the South Pacific. After the suspension of this program, his contract was taken over by Life magazine and he saw action in 1944 and 1945 in Europe and the Pacific. D. Madison, Wisconsin, 1992.
Prisoners of war over maps (1944)
BOSTICK, William Allison: B. Detroit, Michigan 1913. Joined the navy in 1942 and served as an artist and cartographer. Worked on amphibious map reproductions for the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and the D-Day invasion, 1944. H. Bingham Farms, Michigan. Well-ventilated apartment - London 1944
BROMBERG, Manuel:
B. Centerville, Iowa, 1917. Entered the army in April 1942. His first art work in the military was at Keesler Field, Mississippi. Became an official war artist in April 1943 and later assigned to air force stations in England and Ireland. He covered the Normandy landings, and saw action with the Third Army at St. Lo, Metz, Fort Driant, and later with the Seventh Army in Germany. The citation for the Legion of Merit noted that he 'displayed unusual courage and initiative as a soldier by taking voluntary risks under fire in order to give proper portrayal of our army in action'. H. Woodstock, New York.
Destroyed American Tank (1944)
CADDELL, Foster: B. Pawtucket, Rhode Island 1921. Trained in a topographical unit at Mitchell Field, Long Island. Served with the Army Air Corps in New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan from 1944 until 1946. H. Voluntown, Connecticut. Return from the Bush (1945)
CAPECE, William M.: B. Providence, Rhode Island, 1919. Served with the U.S. Army Air Force in Italy and his B-17 bomber was shot down over Germany on June 13, 1944. Captured, he was interned in Stalag Luft 3 until liberated the following year. H. Lincoln, Rhode Island. Prison Camp (1944)
CHAPMAN, Walter Howard: B. Toledo, Ohio, 1912. Served in the U.S. Army and sketched scenes stateside, in convoy, and in England before being transferred in 1944 to the Public Relations and Historical Section of the 84th Infantry Division to produce work on the Battle of Germany. Also did cartoons for the 84th Divisional newspaper and Stars and Stripes. He was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Holland, Belgium and Germany. H. Sylvania, Ohio. Germany 1945 (1945)
COGGINS, Jack B. : B. London, England, 1914. Worked as an illustrator with Life magazine in 1941 and 1942. The following year he enlisted as an artist-correspondent for Yank magazine in the ETO from 1943 to 1945. H. Boyertown, Pennsylvania.
CROWN, Keith Allan: B. Keokuk, Iowa, 1918. Served in the South Pacific as an infantry artist and Staff Sergeant. He was also a field correspondent for Yank magazine. Awarded the Bronze Star. H. Columbia, Missouri. 75 MM Gun (1943)
DUGMORE, Edward: B. Hartford, Connecticut, 1915. Enlisted in the USMC in April 1943. His first military pictures were painted at Parris Island, South Carolina, including a mural in the Officer's club. Received honorable discharge from the navy in 1944. H. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Marine, Walking (1943)
FELDMAN, Walter S. : B. Lynn, Massachusetts, 1925. Served in 82nd Airborne and 83rd Infantry divisions in ETO during 1944-45. Was awarded 4 battle stars, combat infantry badge, purple heart, Belgian unit Croix de Guerre. Wounded in the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge). Was mustered out as a lieutenant of infantry. H. Providence, Rhode Island.
FREDENTHAL, David:
B. Detroit, Michigan, 1914. One of the civilian artists assigned to the War Department Art Program in 1943, he served with the South Pacific War Art Unit and later became a Life magazine artist-correspondent in the Pacific. D. New York City, 1958.
GIBNEY, Richard M.: B. Perry, New York, 1922. Served as a combat artist with the USMC and participated in the battles for Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa. At the end of the war, he served with the occupation forces in Japan. H. Rockport, Massachusetts. On the trail (1943)
GOLD, Albert: B. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1916. Inducted into the army in May 1942, he was selected by the War Department Art Advisory Committee to serve as a war artist in Europe. Assigned to the Historical Branch, ETO, he travelled through England and France. His work also appeared in Yank magazine. H. Philadelphia. At an Airfield in Northern Ireland '44
HIOS, Theo: B. Sparta, Greece, 1908. Joined the USMC in 1942 and trained as a combat photographer. Saw action on the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. Promoted to sergeant and recieved the Bronze Star for 'heroic and meritorious action in obtaining valuable combat photographs under hazardous conditions'. H. New York City. Pearl Harbor 1944 (from troop ship)
LESSER, Mimi Korach: B. Milford, Connecticut, 1922. Selected to go overseas with the USO Camp Shows-Hospital Program, to portray American servicemen in hospital and in remote outposts for the benefit of the soldiers' morale and for their families. Travelled through France, Belgium, Germany and Czechoslovakia in 1944 and 1945. H. Mamaroneck, New York. Bob McCaffrey, Paris - Sep. 22, 1945
MACKEWICZ, Julian A.: B. Providence, Rhode Island, 1915. Served with the 351st Infantry Regiment and was wounded while on patrol near Florence, Italy, in 1944. Was interned in Stalag 7-A at Moosburg, Germany, for nine months before being liberated in April 1945. H. Providence, Rhode Island. Liberated Russian Solider -- Russian Colony, Luxembourg 1944
MORTON, Richard H.: B. Dallas, Texas, 1921. Went into service in July 1942 and after training at Fort Meade he sailed for England in March 1944 as a technician with the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion. He served in Europe with the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops in France, Germany and Luxembourg. H. Aberdeen, Maryland.
MURPHY, John Cullen: B. Chicago, Illinois, 1919. Joined the New York 7th Regiment in 1940 and trained at Camp Stewart, Georgia. He sailed to Australia in 1943 to serve on MacArthur's staff. Later he went to New Guinea and the Philippines before moving on to Japan following the surrender. H. Cos Cob, Connecticut. 1944 M/SGT Turiance
PACE, Stephen: B. Charleston, Missouri, 1918. Competed in the Life magazine exhibit of soldier art in 1943 while serving at Camp Lee, Virginia. Served in the European Theater in 1944 and 1945. Was introduced to Picasso while sketching in Paris following the allied liberation. H. New York City. Soliders at the front (1944)
REEKS, Harry D.:
B. New Orleans, Louisiana, 1921. Joined the USMC in 1941 and saw action on Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Bougainville and Saipan. He was the only official combat artist to land on Iwo Jima with the invasion force and spent thirty days on the island sketching the campaign. D. Ocean Springs, Mississippi, 1982.
Battle Fatigue (1945)
SALERNO, Charles: B. Brooklyn, New York, 1912. Joined the Army Air Corps in 1942. Assigned to an Army Transport Squadron in Assam, India, to fly supplies over the Himalayas to China. Returned to the U.S. in 1945 after 1000 hours flying. Awarded Air Medal and Flying Cross. H. Micco, Florida.
SHANNON, Charles:
B. Montgomery, Alabama, 1914. Served as war artist in the South Pacific War Art Unit in 1943. Later became picture editor and illustrator for the Army Information and Education Division, New York, 1944-46. H. Montgomery, Alabama.
Crap game New Caledonia (1945)
STEELE, Benjamin S.: B. Roundup, Montana. Enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Fort Missoula in 1940. Present at bombing of Clark Field, Philippines in September 1941. Evacuated and assigned to front lines on Bataan. Captured in April 1942, he took part in the Bataan 'Death March'. After internment in various prison camps, he was shipped to Japan where he worked in a coal mine until liberation in September 1945. H. Billings, Montana.
STEVENSON, Albert Brockie: B. Upper Moreland, Pennsylvania, 1919. Enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers in July 1941. Was one of the original soldier-artists at Fort Belvoir before accepting a post as war artist in May 1943. In 1944, he was in southern England to cover the preparations for the Normandy invasion and later depicted war damage in France and Germany. H. Glen Echo, Maryland. From my plane near London, Sept. 24 1944
WASSERMAN, Albert: B. New York 1920. U.S. Army 1944-1945. Served in Belgium and Germany. H. Jackson Heights, New York. Guarding German P.O.W.s -- Amiens, France (1945)