When the United States entered the World War
Claggett Wilson volunteered in the Marines. Twice wounded, gassed,
he was still fighting when the armistice was signed. During the
war the artist had made notes of scenes that caught his imagination.
When peace came he completed a large number of watercolors and
started back to America. The paintings were lost. Claggett Wilson
buried himself in seclusion and painted new ones. They were exhibited
in New York in 1920, they were reprinted in color in book form
in an expensive limited edition by the Sears Publishing Company
eight years later, and now the paintings are stored.
In addition to the three pictures here reproduced, there were
other scenes of fighting and of desolation, of the wounded, of
dressing-station and hospital, and imaginative conceptions of
the visions that comforted men in the trenches. Like the bursting
of a shell, an arresting brilliance, then silence, is the fate
of these paintings which were once considered America's most ambitious
contribution in art to the memory of the Great War.
Dance of Death
Encounter in the Darkness