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By Lauren Lipton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — World War I and American Art is an unforgettable exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The art is both beautiful and chilling.

“Joseph Pennell created this poster image of New York City in flames, buildings crumbling, skylight lit with blood and orange and fire, Statue of Liberty’s head cut off. It was done in 1918, and it’s a scary look ahead at 9/11,” said Co-curator Anne Knutson.

She explained what some of what the artwork represents.

“There’s a George Bellows painting, ‘Return of the Useless,’ and it’s his image of Belgian civilians after they’ve been tortured and mistreated by the Germans, and they’re being returned to Belgium in this blood red boxcar. It was done in 1918, and it’s such an eerie look forward 25 years to the Holocaust, the boxcars, the extermination of the Jews.”

World War I changed many things in American life.

“The rise of the bra and the demise of the corset, because they needed the metals in the corset,” she said. “Pilates began during World
War I as did daylight saving time.

There are beautiful patriotic images, war posters, and John Singer Sargent’s monumental painting, “Gassed,” on loan from London.

And for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

“Positively Philadelphia” main page

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