A Centenary of Australian War Art

July 17 - Dec. 6, 2015, Memory Hall

 

"Australia was born on the shores of Gallipoli"

- Billy Hughes, the war-time Prime Minister of Australia, establishing a strong sentiment that created the still widely-held belief of many.


Çanakkale/Gallipoli was indeed the first large scale crucible of fire for the ANZACS, even though they went on to valiant and successful efforts through the rest of the world war.

Presented for the 100th anniversary of the Allied landing at Gallipoli in April 1915, this exhibition of artworks drawn from the prolific collection of the Australian War Memorial commemorates the role and sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women from the First World War through to the present. 

The exhibition, shown at the National World War I Museum and Memorial as only the second venue in the United States after the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., captures some of the vast geographical area and various theaters of conflict and peacekeeping that Australia has covered and participated in, from the Middle east and Europe, to Vietnam, Korea and Singapore.

A Centenary of Australian War Art is the most comprehensive collection ever seen outside of Australia. The exhibition features Australia’s best known war artists, including George Lambert and Arthur Streeton, and the works highlight the crucial role Australians played in some of the most defining moments in modern history.

Australia inaugurated its Official War Art Scheme in 1917 and the role of art in Australia’s interpretation of its wartime history was established with the commission of Will Dyson, a skilled cartoonist who dedicated himself to depicting the human dimension of war. To date, the Australian War Memorial has appointed more than 70 official war artists. This exhibition presents the work of many of them.

A Centenary of Australian War Art was made possible by the Embassy of Australia, Washington D.C. and the Australian War Memorial with Lockheed Martin serving as the presenting sponsor. Additional support was provided by the Australian Consulate General-Chicago, the Blue Scope Foundation, Creata and the Francis Family Foundation. 

All images are copyrighted by the Australian War Memorial.

  • ANZAC Cove (The Landing Place) , 1915, by Horace Moore-Jones; Anzac Cove was the principal landing area of the Allied Forces on April 25, 1915 on Gallipoli (Çanakkale, Turkey).

  • Dead Beat , 1918, by Private Frank Rossiter Crozier; Crozier was one of the few artists in the Australian Imperial Force who had experienced first-hand the heavy fighting of the war, starting at Gallipoli in September 1915.

  • Hospital Ships, Le Havre, 1918, by Charles Bryant; Charles Bryant was appointed an official Australian war artist in 1917. He was commissioned by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) to depict the embarkation and disembarkation of Australian troops at Le Havre and Boulogne in France.

  • El Arish, March 1918, by George Lambert; El Arish was a large village on the coastal route across the Sinai Desert about forty five miles southwest of Gaza.

  • Digging Bore Hole Latrines, Changi Camp, 1942-43, by Murray Griffin; Murray Griffin’s paintings and drawings made in the Japanese Changi, Singapore prisoner of war camp are an extraordinary pictorial account of the Allied prisoners’ daily struggle against disease, malnutrition, mistreatment and despair.

  • Girl Testing Respirators – Miss G. Thompson, Commonwealth Explosives Factory, Maribyrnong, 1945, by Sybil Craig; This painting depicts a female worker testing anti-poison gas respirators in the Cartridge Bundling Section of the Commonwealth Ordnance Factory at Maribyrnong, near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

  • Adjusting Rockets on Jets, 77 Squadron, Korea, 1952, by Ivor Hele; During the Korean War, Ivor Hele was given the rank of Major. He arrived in Korea in late April in a still-bitter cold winter and the conditions were vastly different from those he had experienced as an official war artist in New Guinea during World War II.

  • Back from Patrol, 1968, by Ken McFadyen; A group of Australian soldiers is shown striding through the long grass in Bien Hoa Province, Vietnam.

  • The Bridge, HMAS Adelaide, 2002, by Peter Churcher; A female naval officer in training for steering the ship HMAS Adelaide is the subject of this painting. Several merchant vessels can be seen around the Australian ship.

  • The Australian Hornets (F/A-18s) out on the Flight Line, 7:30 a.m., Diego Garcia, 2002, by Peter Churcher; The painting shows four Hornets at the air base of the American-occupied island of Diego Garcia.