A Century Gone By: American Art and the First World War
David M. Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art, Wake Forest University, and Terra Foundation for American Art Visiting Professor 2016-2017, Oxford University. Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War takes readers on a compelling journey through the major historical events leading up to and beyond US involvement in World War I to discover the vast and pervasive influence of the conflict on American visual culture. In this lecture held on December 10, 2017, at the National Gallery of Art, David M. Lubin presents an examination of the era's fine arts and entertainment to show how they ranged from patriotic idealism to profound disillusionment. Grand Illusions assesses the war's impact on two dozen painters, designers, photographers, and filmmakers from 1914 to 1933. Lubin considers well-known figures such as Marcel Duchamp, John Singer Sargent, D. W. Griffith, and the self-trained African American artist Horace Pippin while resurrecting forgotten artists such as the mask-maker Anna Coleman Ladd, the sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and the combat artist Claggett Wilson. Armed with rich cultural-historical details and an interdisciplinary narrative approach, Lubin creatively upends traditional understandings of the Great War's effects on the visual arts in America.