An arsenal of 16,000 artworks--powerful images by the likes of Norman Rockwell, Ogden Pleissner and George Biddle--is waiting in a conservation facility for a new museum to open.
The collection encompasses first-hand, moving testimonials in art from the Mexican War in the 1840 through the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since World War I, army-commissioned artwork, and artifacts, have been amassed with several hundred works sent to the Smithsonian. The remainder is in storage while the future National Museum of the United States Army is underway.
Creighton W. Abrams Jr., a retired brigadier general, who haa spearheaded fundraising through the Army Historical Foundation, says that $76 million has been raised of the $175 million needed for the museum's construction. The target date for opening is 2018 and the location will be the Washington suburb of Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
The extensive collections include four works by Rockwell, including a painting of a heroic machine gunner designed as a war poster titled “Let’s Give Him Enough and On Time,” promoting the need for war materiel.
Biddle was a Philadelphia artist who headed the War Art Advisory Committee during World War II. He told artists that "any subject is in order...Battle scenes and the front line . . . the dying and the dead; prisoners of war . . . wrecked habitations . . . the nobility . . . cruelty, boredom of war. . . . You may be guided by Blake’s mysticism, by Goya’s cynicism. . . . Delacroix’s romanticism. . .”