Museum in Washington, DC

Artist Soldiers

Artistic Expression in the First World War

The First World War remade the world geopolitically and transformed how societies engage and relate to military conflict.

Artistic expression during the war contributed to this transformation. Before World War I, war art largely depicted heroic military leaders and romanticized battles, done long after the fact, far from the battlefield. The First World War marked a turning point with the appearance of artwork intended to capture the moment in a realistic way, by first-hand participants.

This exhibition examines this form of artistic expression from two complementary perspectives. One is professional artists who were recruited by the U.S. Army, serving in the AEF.  They were the first true combat artists. The other is soldiers who created artwork. Their self-expression in the form of stone carvings in underground shelters, hidden away for a century, has been brought to light for the first time through the stunning photographs of photographer, artist, and explorer, Jeff Gusky. Together, these soldier works of art shed light on World War I in a compelling and very human way.

A collaboration between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of American History.

Location in Museum

Museum in Washington, DC
April 6, 2017 to November 11, 2018
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Upcoming WWI Events

The Grand Illusion Promotional Material

Hollywood Goes to War Film Series

 Join us for a year-long film series dedicted to the most visually striking and engaging dramas on WWI. Catch a film each month at our Museum in Washington, DC and Chantilly, VA. 

World War I Family Day

Remembering World War I Family Day

This family program explores a wide range of stories from WWI about technological advances and social experiences of the first large-scale industrial war that affected millions of people.  

Film Series

Join us each month for some of the most visually striking and engaging dramas of World War I through our film series Hollywood Goes to War: World War I on the Big Screen. See the films we have coming up and reserve your ticket.

See the Films


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