WILMINGTON, DE.- The Delaware Art Museum presents This Is War!, an exhibition of over 40 war-themed illustrations and posters through August 10, 2008, in the Brock J. Vinton Galleries. Due to the depth of the Delaware Art Museums illustration collections through the 1940s, the Museum is able to provide a wide array of artists interpretations of war. The images in this exhibition focus on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, First World War, and Second World War, and the works are divided into these four groups.
The types of images in This Is War! are varied: There are illustrations of historical writings, illustrations from fictional pieces, works created as a form of visual reportage, and productions intended to exhort the citizenry to proper behavior during conflict. Featured artists include Winslow Homer, Howard Pyle, Frank E. Schoonover, John Sloan, and N. C. Wyeth.
This Is War! provides a fascinating look at the history of American war into the mid-20th-century. Howard Pyles The Fight on Lexington Common, April 19, 1775 depicts the opening salvo of the American Revolution. Two of Winslow Homers most popular Civil War illustrations are included as wood engravings: The Army of the Potomac: A Sharp-Shooter on Picket Duty and The Surgeon at Work at the Rear During an Engagement. And James Montgomery Flaggs Uncle Sam declares I Want You for U.S. Army in the most famous poster to come out of World War I (it was later adapted for use in World War II as well). This particular copy of the poster was actually displayed in Wilmington, directing viewers to the nearest recruiting station at 808 Market St., at the corner of 6th and King.
Not surprisingly, the Delaware Art Museums largest collection of war illustration dates from the period of the First World War (after the death of Howard Pyle and the founding of this institution), when many of Pyles students were commercially active. Consequently, the Museum has a full range of illustration types available from this period: factual reporting images, fictional illustrations, and propaganda posters.