“Bellows believed the worst of the enemy…He wanted to bear witness to the torture and killing…it was his artistic responsibility to use his creative imagination to expose crime and injustice”
Recorded on November 11, 2006.
David Lubin examines “how Americans thought about, debated, and otherwise expressed their feelings about [World War I] by means of their visual culture.” He demonstrates how artists used both traditional media (oil paintings, lithographs) and other forms of visual culture (posters, cartoons) to convey American responses to entering and participating in the First World War. Lubin focuses on seminal works by Childe Hassam, George Bellows and John Singer Sargent, among other artists. These art works, in tandem with and in contrast to the prevalence of key symbols and themes in propaganda materials, articulated public opinions about war and its consequences, real or imagined. He concludes that artists of all genres used visual symbols to make arguments both for and against the war, creating a strong “visual dialogue” amongst these images that was part of the greater American dialogue to define the nation’s role on the world stage during this period.