How did American artists respond to the First World War? Coinciding with the centennial of America’s involvement in the war, World War I Beyond the Trenches explores how artists across generations, aesthetic sensibilities, and the political spectrum used their work to depict, memorialize, promote, or oppose the divisive conflict. The first major museum exhibition to revisit this global event through the eyes of American artists, the exhibition will transform our understanding of art made during the war and in its wake. Highlights include John Singer Sargent's spectacular "Gassed," which has not traveled to New York in decades; works by George Bellows, Georgia O’Keeffe, Horace Pippin, Man Ray, Edward Steichen, and Claggett Wilson; and a contemporary artwork by artist Debra Priestly.
Featured works exclusive to New-York Historical’s exhibition will include Chairman Emeritus Richard Gilder's recent gift to New-York Historical of Childe Hassam's The Fourth of July, 1916, which depicts Fifth Avenue bedecked with dozens of American flags in celebration of Independence Day one hundred years ago, when New Yorkers rallied with patriotic fervor to support the “Preparedness Movement” in anticipation of the nation’s entry into the War. Also exclusive to New-York Historical’s presentation will be an extravaganza of World War I posters from New-York Historical's own collection, some of which have never before been on public view; and a "toyscape" of World War I soldiers and accessories from the recently-acquired Robert C. Postal Collection of Toy Soldiers accompanied by surrounding motion graphics.
World War I Beyond the Trenches is made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and from the Henry Luce Foundation. The Presenting Sponsor for this exhibition is the Exelon Foundation and PECO. Additional funding provided by grants from the David A. and Helen P. Horn Charitable Trust, Edwin L. Fountain, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, The McCausland Foundation, the General Representation of the Government of Flanders to the USA, Mrs. Helen Horn Bickell, Carolyn Horn Seidle, Ellen and Leonard Milberg, Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, Bank of America, Mr. and Mrs. Kevin F. Donohoe, Connie and Jules Kay, Dr. and Mrs. J. Brien Murphy, and Ken Woodcock Support for New-York Historical’s presentation is provided by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.
World War I Beyond the Trenches was organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.