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Clasped hands in robe with CHF logo and text overlay: BELIEF, October 28 - November 12
CHF 2006: Peace & War

David Lubin: Art For War’s Sake

Recorded on November 11, 2006.

David Lubin examines “how Americans thought about, debated, and otherwise expressed their feelings about [World War I] by means of their visual culture.”  He demonstrates how artists used both traditional media (oil paintings, lithographs) and other forms of visual culture (posters, cartoons) to convey American responses to entering and participating in the First World War.  Lubin focuses on seminal works by Childe Hassam, George Bellows and John Singer Sargent, among other artists. These art works, in tandem with and in contrast to the prevalence of key symbols and themes in propaganda materials, articulated public opinions about war and its consequences, real or imagined.  He concludes that artists of all genres used visual symbols to make arguments both for and against the war, creating a strong “visual dialogue” amongst these images that was part of the greater American dialogue to define the nation’s role on the world stage during this period.

Speakers and Performers

David Lubin

David Lubin is the Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University.  He received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.  He specializes in the history of art, film, and popular culture. He has been invited to lecture at colleges, universities, and art museums throughout the U.S. and Western Europe.

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

David M. Kennedy
Historian and author of Over Here: The First World War and American Society.
Jay Winter
Historian and specialist on World War I and its impact on the 20th century.
Sir Martin Gilbert
Historian and author of The First World War.

Good Reads

George Bellows
A biography of George Bellows from the National Gallery of Art.
James Montgomery Flagg
Information on Flagg's most famous posters from the Library of Congress.
Regarding the Pain of Others
An excerpt from the book by Susan Sontag.

Online Resources

Timeline of WWI
A timeline of the war from PBS.
The Sinking of the Lusitania
A 1918 short animated film by Winsor McCay.
Bellows Lithographs
More on George Bellows and his lithographic work by Dr. Henry Adams for the George Bellows Family Trust.