Past Exhibition

​W​orld War I Beyond the Trenches​

May 26, 2017 - September 3, 2017

How did American artists respond to the First World War? Coinciding with the centennial of America’s involvement in the war, World War I Beyond the Trenches explored how artists across generations, aesthetic sensibilities, and the political spectrum used their work to depict, memorialize, promote, or oppose the divisive conflict. The first major museum exhibition to revisit this global event through the eyes of American artists, the exhibition transformed our understanding of art made during the war and in its wake.

To honor the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I, the New-York Historical Society presented a special exhibition examining this monumental event through the eyes of artists. World War I Beyond the Trenches explores how artists across generations, aesthetic sensibilities, and the political spectrum used their work to depict, memorialize, promote, or oppose the divisive conflict.

Featuring more than 55 artworks, the exhibition included John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece Gassed, which has never traveled to New York before; Childe Hassam’s The Fourth of July, 1916, a recent gift from Chairman Emeritus Richard Gilder; and powerful works by George Bellows, Georgia O’Keeffe, Horace Pippin, and Claggett Wilson, among other American artists. World War I Beyond the Trenches was organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as World War I and American Art. The New York presentation featured artifacts from New-York Historical's collection that provide rich historical context, such as World War I propaganda posters, a soldier’s illustrated letters, contemporary sheet music, uniforms and military gear, a battlefield diorama with vintage toy soldiers from the recently-acquired Robert C. Postal Collection of Toy Soldiers, and a contemporary artwork by artist Debra Priestly.

Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.

  • NYC Cultural Affairs
  • NY Council on the Arts

Media sponsor:

  • WNET New York Public Media