Art from the First World War

On view October 3–December 28, 2014


To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I (1914–1918), the Mead presents Images of the Unimaginable, featuring artworks and documents from the Great War. The exhibition showcases the Mead’s collection of works by early twentieth-century Russian artists, including Natalia Goncharova’s print series Mystical Images of War, and Olga Rozanova’s linocuts War. American artists include Childe Hassam and Waldo Peirce, who sent postcards and letters from the front lines home to his friend George Bellows, whose prints are also on view in the show. Swiss painter and printmaker Félix Vallotton, who could not join the army because of his age, captured the war in his signature black-and-white woodcuts. Photographs by members of Amherst College’s ambulance corps, known as the “Black Cat Squadron,” and posters from the war complement the artists’ views in this centennial exhibition.

Related Events:

On Friday, October 3, at 4:30 p.m., Aaron Cohen, Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the California State University, Sacramento, gives the gallery talk "A Bitter Truth? World War I in Russian and European Art." Cohen is the author of Imagining the Unimaginable: World War, Modern Art, & the Politics of Public Culture in Russia, 19141917 (2008). This event and the reception that follows are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, October 15, at 7:00 p.m., in conjunction the Amherst College Copeland Colloquium, Amherst Cinema will present Jean Renoir's 1937 masterpiece Grand Illusion (La Grande Illusion).

On Sunday, October 19, at 2:00 p.m., come ready to discuss Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1929) with Amherst College Professor Ute Brandes. Tea and cookies will be served. No registration required. Following the discussion, join Professor Brandes for a screening of the 1930 film "All Quiet on the Western Front," winner of two Academy Awards, including Best Picture, at 3:15 p.m. in the Campus Center Theatre.

Annotated and Illustrated Exhibition Checklist

This exhibition and related events are made possible with generous support from the David W. Mesker, Class of 1953, Fund; the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund; and the Corliss Lamont Lectureship for a Peaceful World.