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“If a man knows nothing but hard times, he will paint them, for he must be true to himself.

” -Horace Pippin

Horace Pippin, The Barracks, 1945. Oil on canvas. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
The End of the War: Starting Home, c.1930. The Philadelphia Museum of Art

"Night were comeing on. And it Began to rain. Then I tried to get the blanket from my dead comrad. That I could not do.
And I could not get him of off me. The Rain came more and more ontill I were in water yet I were groweing weeker and
weeker all the time and I went to sleep. -Horace Pippin
WWI Army veteran Horace Pippin (1888-1946) fought with the famed ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ during the Great War. His oil-on-canvas
depictions of his experiences in France, where he lost an arm, became famous. Pippin fought for his country—though he lived in a time
when many would not fight for him or his rights as an American due to his race.
The amateur photographer Margaret Hall volunteered with the American Red Cross in
France between September 1918 and July 1919, during which time she served Allied
troops, refugees, and even prisoners of war at the canteen. She kept a journal detailing
her experiences and took numerous photographs of northeastern France and Belgium.
(Even though cameras were not allowed, she had two that she used on her travels.)
“There never has been anything real about my life over here. I can't believe
that it is I who am seeing it with my eyes, living in something that is a reality
and not a dream. It worries me sometimes for I am afraid it will disappear
out of my memory like a dream, and I don't know just what to do to hold on
to it.”- Margaret Hall

Margaret Hall. Grave in "No Man's Land,"1918–19. Gelatin silver print, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
In 1918, Margaret Hall confided to her diary that when she passed French medical, police, and customs inspections, they “forgot to ask if I had a
camera”. She defiantly pasted into her journal the official American Expeditionary Force regulations banning cameras.
Within months of the armistice that ended the First World War, American artist Claggett
Wilson (1887–1952), who had fought in France as a combat marine, produced a riveting
portfolio of two dozen watercolors based on his wartime experiences.
Flower of Death— The Bursting of a Heavy Shell—Not as It Looks, but as It Feels and Sounds and Smells by Claggett Wilson (1887–1952).
Watercolor and pencil on paperboard. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D. C.
Claggett Wilson, Saviors of
France--Jeanne d'Arc, St. Louis, Clovis and
the Hands of the Common Soldier, ca.
1919, watercolor on paperboard,
Smithsonian American Art Museum