Monday, 23 July 2007

Tom Lea: An Extraordinary American Artist

Very strange, googling "Tom Lea", I came across fulsome praise from Laura Bush. Indeed, it seems like most of the positive attention he gets has to do with his more traditional idealised paintings of the American prairie. But anyone who sees his combat paintings will not forget them in a hurry, and, in the long term, surely they are the works which will continue to haunt the viewer's imagination.

I read a laudatory introduction to a book on the work of government commissioned artists during World War 2 by James Jones, (author of The Thin Red Line), who astutely notes the gradual critical change in Lea's work, commensurate with the scenes of carnage he had witnessed first hand. If there is a need today to preserve his legacy, it must in part reside in his chosen medium, which remains powerful, even in the age of and youtube. At this stage, I don't even know if any military sends artists in with the troops anymore, but I seriously doubt it. Hope to find out an answer with further research. In the meantime, here are 2 of Lea's most powerful works, to contemplate; "The 2000 Yard Stare" and "The Price."

1 comment:

mattcd42 said...

Interesting take on Tom Lea, for another go to:

this site. It has a another perspective.