Picturing the First World War

The First World War marked a turning point with the appearance of artwork intended to capture the moment in a personal way, by first-hand participants. The Smithsonian American Art Museum's battlefield watercolors by artist and soldier Claggett Wilson (available to view online) and works by other artists in the American Expeditionary Forces paint a recognizable picture of life at war. African American and self-taught painter Horace Pippin recounts his World War I experiences in an illustrated notebook from the Archives of American Art. To learn more, read the article Battlefield Artworks Offer Harsh, Intimate Window onto the Devastation of WWI or visit the exhibition Artist Soldiers: Artistic Expression in the First World War (April 6, 2017 – November 11, 2018), co-sponsored by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum. Also included here are works from the National Air and Space Museum by French Lieutenant Henri Farré. Farré's paintings depict air battles that he observed or took part in during World War I.

World War I Centennial