The Artists In Uniform


Soldier-artists ar Fort Belvoir, Virginia, 1942




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.

Soldier-artists at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, 1942

Since 1993, the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection at Brown University Library has been attempting to create an archive devoted to World War Two art and artists. This has involved contacting over eighty artists known to have served during the war, and relatives of deceased artists, inviting them to donate pictures to the collection. The project has resulted in the donation of over 600 original works of art. A small selection of these are represented in the Brown exhibition and at Heritage Plantation.

Included are portraits, battle and campaign scenes, views in hospital or on board ship, prison-camps, images of destruction, the equipment of war, refugees and prisoners, cartoons, camp, and training scenes by thirty artists. Publications, documents and photographs relating to artists in the war are displayed also.

This exhibit commemorates the 50th anniversary of the end of World War Two, and recognizes the efforts of artists in wartime.




[ Library Home Page| Library Exhibits]