Art After Dark

"Whitney at War: Healing, Death, and Memory in the WWI Sculptures"

July 11, 2019 6:00 pm

David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art, Wake Forest University

Best known today as a pioneer collector of modern painting and sculpture who founded the Whitney Museum of American Art, during her lifetime Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942) was better known as a sculptor. She was trained in Paris and won prestigious commissions for her work. At the start of the First World War, she voyaged to France to establish a field hospital at the front, where she nursed dying and convalescent soldiers. On her return to the States, Whitney began a series of bronze figural sculptures that, under the collective title Impressions of War, depicted the military and medical scenes she had witnessed herself or heard about from patients. Join us to explore Whitney’s remarkable life and career with David Lubin, art historian and author of Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War.

Cocktails, Book sale & signing to follow.

Tickets: $10 Members, $15 non-members

Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War

A vivid, engaging account of the artists and artworks that sought to make sense of America’s first total war, Grand Illusions takes readers on a compelling journey through the major historical events leading up to and beyond US involvement in WWI to discover the vast and pervasive influence of the conflict on American visual culture. David M. Lubin presents a highly original examination of the era’s fine arts and entertainment to show how they ranged from patriotic idealism to profound disillusionment. Well-known figures such as Marcel Duchamp, John Singer Sargent, D. W. Griffith, African American outsider artist Horace Pippin, mask-maker Anna Coleman Ladd, the sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and the combat artist Claggett Wilson are all considered. Armed with rich cultural-historical details and an interdisciplinary narrative approach, David Lubin creatively upends traditional understandings of the Great War’s effects on the visual arts in America.

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