American opinion was a key front in the wars of the 20th century, and illustrations were vital weapons in the fight for the hearts and minds of American citizens. Paintings, posters, cartoons and other visual media supporting or criticizing each war have captured the civic imagination and helped define what it is to be an American. At War! The Changing Face of American War Illustration will consist of nearly 70 works of art, including posters, paintings, comic strips, editorial cartoons, animation and video. The exhibition will examine the similarities and differences of both the medium and message of American war imagery from 1913 to 2003. It will also explore three themes that have remained constant in wartime illustrations throughout the 20th century: Fear, duty and nostalgia.

Many of the works in At War! are drawn from the Museum of Art’s extensive collection of WWI and WWII posters. Other works are on loan from the collections of the Army, the Navy, the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Northern Texas University Library. The exhibition will feature works by well-known artists Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flag, Theodor Seuss Geisel, Charles Dana Gibson, Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth, as well as works by a variety of contemporary American illustrators.

The Museum of Art’s collection of war posters came to the university from former BYU history professor Philip M. Flammer. Flammer served in the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in the Vietnam and Korean wars. He earned a doctorate in history from Yale University and shared his passion for military history in his teaching at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and at BYU.

Flammer avidly collected war images, searching antique stores and garage sales. His efforts resulted in a collection of nearly 100 posters. Some of the posters in the Flammer collection are rare and are not represented in the collections of major national museums and libraries.

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