The Art of Soldiering

Exhibit Information
  • Clock45 minutes
  • agesApproved for all ages
  • calendarTemporary Exhibit
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Our Soldiers In Art

This area is a temporary, rotating exhibit space. The Museum’s first exhibit, The Art of Soldiering, showcases highlights from the U.S. Army’s Art Collection. It visually depicts the experiences of the American Soldier from the Civil War to the present through art produced on the front lines. Visitors encounter a new perspective, learning about warfare through the artistic expression of those who were present.

Artifact Highlights

Unique Artifact

“Bombing of the Abbey,” Cassino, Italy, Capt. Edward Reep, 1944, Watercolor on paper, 17.5 x 22.25 in., U.S. Army Center of Military History -World War II Soldier-artist Edward Reep witnessed the bombing of Monte Cassino Abbey, one of the most significant cultural losses of World War II. Reep was very concerned with documenting this historic event, so much so that he initially set up too close to the bombing and had to relocate to a safer location.

Unique Artifact

“Bataan Death March,” Philippines, Pfc. Clayton M. Rollins, ca. 1942, Carved wood, 10.5 x 11.25 in., U.S. Army Center of Military History -Clayton M. Rollins was an artist, Soldier, and survivor of the Bataan Death March. Rollins was taken prisoner at the battle of Corregidor and subjected to the march in April 1942. He escaped during the march and hid with Filipino guerilla fighters near Manila.

Unique Artifact

“An Artillery Train,” France, Kerr Eby, 1919, Etching on paper, 9.25 x 18.375 in., U.S. Army Center of Military History -Kerr Eby was a Soldier in the 40th Engineers, Artillery Brigade, Camouflage Division, during World War I and he created etchings based on his experiences. This piece has a symbolic meaning as the artillery train marches resolutely from a clear sky in the background toward a dark sky and muddy road in the foreground.

Unique Artifact

“Cruising the Panama Canal (Chinook),” Operation Just Cause, Al Sprague, 1990, Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in., U.S. Army Center of Military History -As a volunteer civilian artist, Al Sprague (b. 1948) spent twelve days in Panama documenting Operation Just Cause in 1989. Of this painting depicting the view out of the back of a Chinook, he said, “The troops picked me up at Albrook Air Force Base on the Pacific side of the Isthmus, and we flew to Fort Gulick on the Atlantic side so that they could show me some of the battle sites. They used the Panama Canal as their route, patrolling the waters below.”

Unique Artifact

“We Leave the Trenches,” War with Spain, Pvt. Charles Johnson Post, 1936, Watercolor on paper, 21.75 x 16.5 in., U.S. Army Center of Military History -Post was a Soldier in the 71st New York Infantry in the Spanish-American War, although he did not execute this drawing until many years later. His portrayal of bedraggled Soldiers, sick from tropical diseases, is a striking example of the challenges Soldiers face from the environment around them.

Unique Artifact

“Fallujah,” Fallujah, Iraq, Sfc. Elzie Golden, 2005, Watercolor on paper, 22.25 x 29.875 in., U.S. Army Center of Military History -Elzie Golden (b. 1953) was a member of an Army Artist team in 1990 and later served as Artist-in-Residence from 2002 to 2005. His painting of a 3d Infantry Soldier sleeping in living quarters on the outskirts of Fallujah recalls similar paintings throughout the Army’s history.

“One thing I could not portray with paint was the feeling of the unreality of it all.”

Spec. Ron Wilson

Soldier Profiles

Soldier Profiles
Sgt. Carl E. “Gene” Snyder

Snyder was born in Baltimore in 1968. He enlisted in the Army as an infantry…

Soldier Profiles
Capt. George Matthews Harding

George Harding was born in Philadelphia in 1882. Harding was one of eight artists selected…

Soldier Profiles
Master Sgt. Martin J. Cervantez

Cervantez is a self-taught artist from Michigan. He was assigned as the U.S. Army’s Artist-in-Residence…

Soldier Profiles
1st Lt. John O. Wehrle

Wehrle was born in 1941 in San Antonio. He received his bachelor’s degree from Texas…

Soldier Profiles
Tom Lea

Tom Lea was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1907. He studied at the Art…