Skip to main content

tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  December 22, 2014 7:33pm-8:01pm EST

7:33 pm
each week american artifacts takes viewers into archives, museums, and historic sites around the country. next we visit the president woodrow wilson house in washington, d.c., which was home wife, edith, after they left the white house. a wilson house exhibit features a brown university collection of world war i paintings and other artworks. they helped shape public opinion over the three years that america remained neutral in the conflict. finally, in 1917 president wilson led the nation into what was hoped to be the war to end all wars. >> welcome to the president woodrow wilson house here in washington, d.c. this home was finished in 1916 and was the home to which president and mrs. wilson moved == house on march 4th, 1921. both of them lived here the rest of their lives.
7:34 pm
for president wilson that was to be only three more years. he died early in 1924, but amazingly his widow, edith, lived until 1961 in this home and was -- had a front seat really in american history in our collection here we have a large number of gifts of state that were given to president and mrs. wilson. one reason that we have so many of these gifts from other pivotal role that president wilson played in ending world war i. it was about 100 years ago this month, right now, that world war i broke out, and president wilson faced two tremendous crises in his life. one was the outbreak of war in europe, which began on august 2nd when germany invaded belgium violating belgium's neutrality and provoking other nations then to declare war against each other and really begin the war. and just four days later his wife ellen wilson died as first lady in the white house. she suffered from a kidney ailment called bright's disease
7:35 pm
that today is curable but in her time was fatal. president wilson faced a nation and a world that was very different than ours today. the united states had become the largest global economy by 1900 but was still not thought of as a major diplomatic or military power. in fact, in 1914 the united states had the 12th largest army in the world sharing that position with both greece and serbia. all three countries had armies numbering about 200,000 men. but by the end of world war i in 1918, the united states had an q army of 4 million men in uniform and fully 2 million of them were in europe. it's remarkable to think that during that brief space of time we assembled such an army and were able to transport half of it to the battle fields of europe as a decisive influence in that conflict. from the outset of the war, americans were troubled and confused about america's role. there were some who thought that we ought to get involved, but they were an obvious minority. the remaining who thought we shouldn't be involved at all, and president wilson staked out from the beginning a position of american neutrality.
7:36 pm
i think he hoped that the united states could play a role in brokering a peace, serving as a mediator, and even when his wife was on her deathbed, he was writing a note, signing a letter to kaiser wilhelm of germany and king george v of great britain offering to mediate the dispute. it's remarkable to think of the personal turmoil that wilson was embroiled in during this time. we have now an exhibition of world war i art on display this summer through august 10th here at the woodrow wilson house in washington, and it's timely to have this and it's poignant for us to have an exhibition of this sort. we talk about world war i and
7:37 pm
those of white house study it know that there were 17 to 18 million people killed in that conflict. it was a tragedy of proportions really as yet unexperienced by humanity. etuáu)ial revolution were turned horribly to the destructions of cities and the death of combatants and were very efficient in what they did. so we see world war i as an event on a huge scale, and yet the tragedies were quite individual, and i look at the exhibition downstairs and i see the individual faces of combatants or of those tending to them and see the tragedy of the war at a very human scale, a very personal scale. i think that's a remarkable thing to take from the exhibition. one of the images there that i find most telling, most touching is one called good-bye old man, and it shows world war i soldier cradling in his arms the head of
7:38 pm
a horse, obviously his horse, who has been mortally wounded, and the artist convey that is the horse is dying. the great affection and reliance between the soldier and his animal. these images are from the firstñ part of the war when the soldiers were all european, and so it's very likely that this horse came from the farm with the soldier into war and that they had known each other for years. and at the same time he's saying good-bye to this dear friend, one of his colleagues is up the road urgently summoning him, and you can see artillery shells exploding along the road nearby, probably one of which had wounded the horse. so there's an urgency and a sadness to that image that i tragedy of world war i for that soldier and for that time and that's one of the reasons i'm particularly glad to have this exhibition here at this time. >> hello. my name is stephanie dagherty + and i'm the associate manager at
7:39 pm
curator at the president woodrow wilson house. welcome to our gallery. today we have an exhibition covering the first two years of world war i called images of the great war: the european offenses 1914 to 1916. this image is derived from the anne s.k. brown military collection at brown university library. the exhibit consists of 32 drawings, prints, and watercolors from this collection. here we have a map that highlights some of the battles between 1914 and 1916. here is the battle of ypres. the exhibition features artists of different nationalities, so it is a truly a visual representation of the war from multiple perspectives.
7:40 pm
what's unique about this exhibition is that many of the images you see were drawn from the pens of the soldiers themselves as well as for the illustrated press. so while modernism and abstract art were gaining popularity in the early 20th century, what you will see here is more images representational art that's more similar to those of the 19th century. because of this, a lot of this work has been overshadowed by a the official artists who accompanied the tro ?'to the front. because most of these images appeared in the illustrated press, these got the most public exposure during the war, particularly among europeans, but a couple also reached america, and no doubt influenced public opinion. i want to speak a little about the anne s.k. brown military collection. mrs. brown started collecting artifacts in the 1930s and she amassed an extensive collection of military prints, toy soldiers, manuscripts, maps, all relating to wars. in 1981 mrs. brown donated her extensive collection to brown
7:41 pm
university's libraryfñ it still remains there today as a great repository of military art and artifacts. let's start out with some of her toy soldiers that she started collecting. here we have lead toy soldiers depicting some -- depicting different nationalities that fought in world war i. we have the italians up in front, the french soldiers in the middle, and then german cavalry as well as german officers. mrs. brown started collecting toy soldiers on her honeymoon to europe in the 1930s. many of these figures were made in the hide factory in dresden, germany. the factory was bombed during world war ii and no longer exists. she amassed a collection of
7:42 pm
5,000 toy soldiers, of which you only see a small representative ranging from ancient egypt to the 1950s. let's now and go see some of her print works. here we have our first example of the printed works in ann brown's collection.)2!ñ this is by the french artist frank ilem. he was well known for depicting horses, particularly in racing scenes.bxo2ñ in this watercolor the artist has captured a drab british convoy of horse-drawn wagons as it moves slowly along a rutted dirt road. this is particularly noteworthy for the depiction of the horses and the covered wagons which is reminiscent of a 19th century battle. but we also have a telegraph that seems to propel us more into 20th century technology. this is one of my favorite pieces in the exhibition as it's
7:43 pm
themes we want to convey, most notably the juxtaposition between 19th century strategy and tactics alongside 20th century technology. this image appeared in a pictorial newspaper in november 1917.>t cq it seems almost to be a metaphor for the entire war itself as these mounted men seem to disappear into oblivion. many people associate the poppy with the tragedy of world war i from 1914 to 1918. the poppy was immortalized in john mccrae's poem "in flanders fields." john mccrae was a medical officer in the canadian army. one of his dear friends fell inx the ypres salient in 1915.o=téck he was on the back of an
7:44 pm
ambulance when he looked out and saw a cemetery covered in poppies. this really prompted him to write a poem about the death and destruction he saw during the war. today you'll see thousands of people wearing poppies, especially in britain and the commonwealth, during our armistice day and remembrance day which are both november 11th. most of the artists in this exhibition were either the soldiers themselves on the front, those sent by illustrated newspapers, or professional studio artists. here we have an example of a professional academic artist who never visited the front, so this is an imaginary scene. it depicts men walking through a town. as you can tell, the town has been totally destroyed by the fighting. in fact, the entire town had to be totally rebuilt in the 1920s.
7:45 pm
in this picture we see three german cavalry men sitting on upturned barrels playing cards. their horses await battle in the background. the feeling is quite sobering as these men and their horses await their turn in battle. about 8 million horses died during the war effort. here we have a very poignant scene by a french artist. it depicts a station.ahxf you can see a red cross train waiting outside along with many wounded soldiers and other soldiers waiting their turn in line for battle. little is known about this artist, though it's likely he was a soldier or sent by the illustrated press.
7:46 pm
during this time, photography hadn't totally eclipsed the graphic art in newspapers. so many publishers were sending people to depict what 7 seeing as opposed to sending photographers. many of these artists did not go by their own name. they used a pen name or they used their initials. in the bottom right-hand corner we see a small motive that reminds us of good-bye old man. it appears to be a horse dead on the ground and we see the outlines of wagons and troops leaving him behind. here we have a unique print that's unlike others in the exhibition as it really concentrates on the spirituality of the war. many people that would have been seeing these images were seeking consolation for what was going on at the front. here we have a priest who you can still see is a soldier.
7:47 pm
he still has his spurs on and he's clearly putting the robe over his uniform. we have other soldiers surrounding him and a makeshifts alter with a cross and candles here. they seem to be preparing to receive communion. in the background we see hundreds of other soldiers that don't -- that seem oblivious to what is going on. this is an imaginary scene, and franklin is unrealistic of what was going on on the front. this is a lithograph by the british artist griffin hagan. that was deemed unsuitable for the war effort and wouldn't have had as much public exposure as other propaganda pieces in this exhibition. here we have a british medical officer attending to a wounded soldier. we see blood dripping down from under his bandage, yet he still clutches his rifle. this british artist, griffin hagan, was an academic artist
7:48 pm
and wasn't a soldier during the war. this is a color print by the british artist wily. this artist was very interested in perspective. he had previously been depicting british naval battles but with the invention of the aircraft, he soon became intrigued with aerial warfare. in fact, he ascended in a hot air balloon so he could note the natural curvature of the $+r here he's depicted a view of ypres. the names on the gold mat replicate what was on the original wooden frame and it gives you a sense of space. this is the battle of jutland which occurred -- which was fought on the north sea in 1916. here we have boy cornwall who is on the "hms chester." we see that cornwall's comrades
7:49 pm
have fallen in battle, however he gained recognition for staying at his post awaiting orders even as those fell around him. this image was used as propaganda to inspire patriotisç in other englishmen. in fact, cornwall, who is only 16 1/2 years old, received the victoria cross. this is one of the few works in this collection that focuses on an individual who we know their name and really inspired heroism among other soldiers and civilians. here, we have french troops, french colonial troops from north africa overpowering german soldiers. we see the river in the background. also note this is in fan shape,
7:50 pm
which is unique. this artist was well-known for depicting art deco fashion, so this is atypical of his work. o work. to the battle which was fought in early 1914 stopped the german offensive. the french hadn't forgotten that the germans annexed franko -- this artist whof went by the nae uncle handsy because he was a german illustrate for. here we have a french soldier carrying a german border and france and away from his hometown of komar this scene
7:51 pm
depicts german officer and then potentially the kaiser and prints along with german troops approaching the bed of a french or belgin woman. this cartoon is a metaphphor fo the rape of belgium. many rumors of german atrocities reach europe and america, in fact england ordered the bright commission to investigate these alleged atrocities. this was drawn by a war correspondent known as simm during world war i. he also published albums in 1916 and 1918. here we see two french soldiers awaiting their turn in line to receive stu. rations were a big problem in
7:52 pm
the trenches and the dugouts, starvation and there were frequently times of food shortages, here we see the -- we see the outlines of many soldiers that could be a metaphor for the numerous mouths that needed to be fed. while many of the images in this exhibition depict hand to hand combat and specific battles, i'm really taken by this drawing who was an austrian artist. i'm amazed at the level of detail he was able to convey in such a small work, this depicts a small soldier who closes his eyes for a few minutes. he's away from the battlefield, he's either found a natural
7:53 pm
shelter or he's dug his own with his bayonet. staying warm was a major concern. we see this soldier has a blanket and has done his best to cover his entire body. he also has large fur boots in an attempt to keep him warm. this would have received public exposure. above we have an ink artist, it depickets an austrian soldier, accepts a mug of water from a woman. this simple drawing reminds us that civilians also had a role to play in the war effort.
7:54 pm
this is the only image in the exhibition to be done by a turkish artist. turkey did join the central forces in the great war and mostly in the middle east. this caricature shows a turkish soldier, smiling at his austria ally, as he cuts down a miniature figure of his russian enemy. we see that there are multiple russians in line to be cut down. this is another one of my favorite images in the exhibition, and it was done by the swiss artist moon den. you really get a sense of the 19th century versus the 20th
7:55 pm
one has been shot down, the other two are hovering over their kill. this really everyonifies the juxtaposition of 19th century warfare, the mounted cavalry could have been a scene from many of the previous wars, like the civil war. however, it's the depiction of the airplanes that truly makes this a 20th century war. this hand to hand combat reminds us of previous wars.h this is a very intimate depiction as we see the expressions on each of the soldiers faces. to the artist was a popular children's cartoonist, this particular group of the french army helped break the stalemate of trench warfare in their native region of the french alps. the title translates to the blue devils.fk
7:56 pm
this is another poignant scene done by an italian artist. this was the same artist who drew goodbye old man, which we saw earlier. this is a funny depiction, we see a german officer staring at a small boy and his mother. as they walk away, the boy turns around and sticks his tongue out at the german officer.d1$ú who is the strongest? is it the german soldier or is it the little belgian or french boy. the british introduced tanks during the british offensive of 1916. this etching depicts the first tank. unfortunately, many suffered mechanical failure or were put
7:57 pm
out of action by enemy fire.b6ñ however, this image foreshadows the type of technology that would be used in future wars. the british artist pierce drove south and actually entered the war zone. for four days, he was able to move about the war zone without any trouble. so this depicts an eyewitness account. as he was driving, he often stopped to depict the scenes that were unfolding before his e eyes. the town of ostead was about to fall in the second month of 1914. here we see british soldiers as well as civilians side by side is. they were refugees. this image h only the many soldiers died during the war, but many civilians were displaced due to the fighting.
7:58 pm
here we see women and children bringing only what they could carry, and we get a sense of uncertainty on their faces. here we have three french prisoners of war by the dutch artist rainmakers. this is particularly notable as the artist rainmakers had the most public exposure in america. in fact many of his images were published in america and then he also published depictions after americans entered the war in 1917. we know barbed-wire and we notice a british troop standing guard. this epitomizes the boredom and hopelessness and decembspair th was so pref lechbt in the war camps. of these 2.5 million were held captive by the germans.
7:59 pm
along with the average american, president wilson would have learned information about the war through similar images to the ones in this exhibit. they may have swayed his opinion one way or the other. >> you can watch this or other american artifacts programs any time by visiting our website, cspan.org/history. here's a look at some of the programs you'll find christmas day on the cspan networks, holiday festivities start at 10:00 a.m. eastern on cspan, with the lighting of the national christmas tree. followed by the white house christmas decorations with first lady michelle obama. and the lighting of the the capital christmas tree, and just after $f8)12:30 p.m., celebrit activists talk about their causes. then at 8:00, supreme court justices -- on the bill of rights and founding fathers.
8:00 pm
on cspan 2 at 10:00 a.m. eastern, at 12:30 see the feminist side of a superhero. author pamela paul and others talk about their reading habits. to follow the berlin wall with cspan footage of president george w. bush and bob dole, with speeches from presidents john kennedy and ronald reagan. at noon fashion experts on first ladies fashion choices and how they represented the styles of the times in which they live. and then at 10:00, nbc news news anchor on his 30 years on the network.ímd@ >> with live coverage of the u.s. house on cspan and the senate
10:09 pm
think especially captures the ny

56 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on