Combat Art Gallery
A World at War: The Marine Corps and U.S. Navy in World War I
Officially opened on June 6, 2018, the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Belleau Wood.
In commemoration of the centennial of World War I, the National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC) will open a joint art exhibition depicting the story of the Marines and Sailors who fought and died in "the war to end all wars" and honors their memory a century later.
The exhibition, in collaboration with the Naval Heritage and History Command, opened June 2018 and contains 92 works by 42 artists drawn from the collections of the NMMC, the Naval History and Heritage Command and the National Museum of the United States Army.
The works, based on personal experiences or from historical perspectives, were created by service members, some of America’s leading illustrators, and even some unknown artists. The pieces document the everyday activities of Marines, the grisly battlefields of Belleau Wood and Blanc Mont Ridge, the combat debut of Marine Corps aviation as well as the U.S. Navy's battles against German U-boats and the stormy waters of the North Atlantic. Artwork from the home front includes posters intended to energize Americans to donate books, plant gardens, nurse the sick and wounded, and give their overall support to the war effort on a scale not seen before. Also included in the exhibition is a selection of portraits of Marine Medal of Honor recipients by noted artist Col. Charles H. Waterhouse, USMCR (Ret.), paired with artwork that captures their heroic deeds. Finally, the exhibit showcases a small complementary selection of artifacts from the National Museum of the Marine Corps: objects brought back home by Marines that were transformed from mundane gear, such as helmets, mess kits, and artillery shells, into beautiful pieces of art.
The exhibit is on display until April 2019.
The Marine Corps Combat Art Program
“Go to war, do art.”
Brigadier General Robert Denig, 1942
The Museum’s Marine Corps Combat Art Gallery opened July 2017. The gallery features changing exhibitions of the Museum’s combat art collection or related collections on loan from others.
The Marine Corps Combat Art Program traces its origins to 1942. Its mission: Keep Americans informed about what “their Marines” are doing at home and overseas. Managed today by the National Museum of the Marine Corps, the collection has grown to include more than 9,000 works of art created by 350 artists.
Honor, courage, and commitment are the basic principles embraced by all Marines. Along with a dose of gritty realism, those principles are reflected in the combat art collection. Brigadier General Denig’s simple guidance—“Go to war, do art.”—still applies today. Talented active duty Marines, Reservists, and civilian artists document Marine Corps life on the battlefront and while training for battle, during humanitarian missions, and on the home front. The collection’s strength rests on the authentic and unvarnished focus these works have on the human condition under the most trying of circumstances.
In addition to the Combat Art Gallery, the Museum opened an art studio in 2017. Located behind the art gallery, the studio provides space for combat artists to practice their skills and to create art. Visitors can view the artists in action from the second deck walkway, behind the art gallery.
The Museum is Looking for a Few Good Artists!
The Call for Artists: We need talented Marines to serve as combat artists, telling the Corps' rich story through visual arts. These artists can come from active duty, reserves and honorably discharged veterans. If you, or someone you know, is interested in combat art please email Museum deputy director Charles Grow at email@example.com.
We need you to help continue the combat art mission… "Go to war; do art."
Visit our Art Studio at the Museum and see combat artists in action on the 2nd Saturday of every month!
Check out Calendar of Events for more details.
Honor, Courage, Commitment: Marine Corps Art, 1975-2015--OPEN THRU MARCH 1, 2018
The first exhibition in the gallery honors Marines who have served in the Corps during the last 40 years and echoes the core values of the Marine Corps: honor, courage, and commitment. One hundred works of art by 22 artists are divided among three themes.
Every Clime and Place illustrates Marines as they conduct training and engage the enemy in a variety of settings and situations around the globe.
No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy captures Marines meeting the enemy with unmatched ferocity and then rendering aid to civilians under the most dire of circumstances.
The Price reminds us that war is all-consuming. Marines willingly accept the risks associated with their missions, and families shoulder the burdens of uncertainty, loss, and grief.
The works in this show have been drawn, painted, or sculpted by individuals who are Marines first and artists second. The artists range in rank from lance corporals to colonels. All used their talents to visually tell the story of their fellow Marines, based in part on their own experiences and perspectives. Many served as official combat artists.
We invite you to explore Marine Corps history through art by visiting the Combat Art Gallery.
On display until March 1, 2018
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Admission and parking are FREE. Hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day, except Christmas Day.
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