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World War I Beyond the Trenches at New-York Historical Society

To honor the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I, the New-York Historical Society presents a special exhibition examining this monumental event through the eyes of artists. World War I Beyond the Trenches explores how artists across generations, aesthetic sensibilities, and the political spectrum used their work to depict, memorialize, promote, or oppose the divisive conflict.

Featuring more than 55 artworks, the exhibition includes John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece Gassed, which has never traveled to New York before; Childe Hassam’s The Fourth of July, 1916, a recent gift from Chairman Emeritus Richard Gilder; and powerful works by George Bellows, Georgia O’Keeffe, Horace Pippin, and Claggett Wilson, among other American artists. World War I Beyond the Trenches was organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as World War I and American Art. The New York presentation features artifacts from New-York Historical's collection that provide rich historical context, such as World War I propaganda posters, a soldier’s illustrated letters, contemporary sheet music, uniforms and military gear, a battlefield diorama with vintage toy soldiers from the recently-acquired Robert C. Postal Collection of Toy Soldiers, and a contemporary artwork by artist Debra Priestly.

World War I Beyond the Trenches, the New-York Historical presentation, was curated by independent curator Robin Jaffee Frank, with Mike Thornton, New-York Historical’s associate curator of material culture, and is supported by the Mr. & Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc., Helen and Robert Appel, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, Jennifer and John Monsky, and the General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA. 

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