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War Paintings

March 1935


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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.

Shell-Hole Stuff
Shell-Hole Stuff
Dance of Death
Dance of Death
Encounter in the Darkness
Encounter in the Darkness

 

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