Friday Arts:  Arts Logo

Combat Artist

Produced by Michael O'Reilly

May 2011

While seemingly a study in incongruity, a "Combat Artist" has been a part of military operations for over one hundred years. From World War One to the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 15,000 works from artists under fire have been stored in the sprawling basement of a Washington, DC office building. This collection is rarely presented publicly but was most recently mounted by the National Constitution Center in "The Art of the American Soldier" - a smaller show complete with interviews from some of the Vietnam Combat Artists as well as one of the few woman combat artists to join the ranks of this illustrious group.

Art of the American Solider

Created by the National Constitution Center in conjunction with the U.S. Army Center of Military History and the National Museum of the United States Army, Art of the American Soldier unveils powerful works of art created by American soldiers in the line of duty. Drawn from the Army's rarely seen collection of over 15,000 paintings and sketches, the exhibition showcases the artistic response of soldiers from World War I through the present day. This unprecedented celebration of their creative spirit presents unforgettable images in a never-before-seen collection, offering intimate, first-hand insight into the soldier experience.

Extended Interview with Paul Rickert | Edited by Veronica Stickleman
In this extended interview Paul Rickert reflects on aspects of his time in Vietnam.

Mail Call: Letters from Ghosts | Edited by Veronica Stickleman
In this piece, interviewees recount the story of 30 year-old letters, just now delivered after members of Combat Artist Team 1 are reunited by the "Art of the American Soldier" show.