Harvey Dunn: A World War I Graphic Reporter

Essay by bluetorch720College, UndergraduateA+, September 2008

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Through out history artwork has portrayed time periods and events. Artists are able to capture the emotions of society through their paintings, photographs, and other artistic mediums. World War I was a great example of artwork conveying the mood of entire countries. The war gave rise to the most lively and surprising emotions and artistic reactions to patriotic feeling, to the emerging new technologies, and most of all to the horror of the first experience of modern warfare (1) In July of 1917 it was decided that War Artists be sent over seas to document the atmosphere in war zones. Harvey Dunn was one such artist; it was his ability to capture expressions and emotion that have motivated me to choose him for my discussion.

Harvey Dunn was born in 1884 in Dakota. Initially he was not interested in pursuing art, he started his education at an Agricultural College. Once he met Ada B.

Caldwell he was convinced to transfer to the Chicago Art Institute! He drew and he painted and he convinced a school of disbelievers that the hick from the prairie was an artist (2) In 1917 Harvey Dunn was chosen by the military to go to war as a graphic reporter. It was during this job that he created some of his best pieces. He was a fearless reporter and filled scrolls with powerful images of devastation, both physical and emotional (2)In His piece Over the Top, Dunn is able to capture the true expression of the soldiers in battle. The painting is centered on three soldiers, one of whom seems to be the leader. The fear as well as determination that Dunn is able to capture in their faces really does help show the rest of the world what the war is like. Another one of DunnÕs pieces captures a soldier that seems to have escaped from an attack. The look in his eyes is one of terror and shock. Some of DunnÕs other illustrations are less shocking, they capture soldiers running through fields or just resting. It is clear that Harvey Dunn was trying to capture all aspects of war in his artwork. Reporters such as Dunn were supposed to create pieces of art that could be sent back to the United States and released out into the public. These visuals helped people back home understand what was going on, they served as their source of news. While letters helped keep people informed, images made the situation more rea. After returning from the war in 1919 Dunn continued to created pieces of artwork that captured people in their natural environments. Harvey Dunn was a very successful illustrator, I feel as though this has a lot to do with his amazing ability to capture human expression. His drawings still exist, many at the Smithsonian, and display an emotional power that still can overwhelm the viewer, even today.

(2)Source:1. http://www.art-ww1.com/gb/index2.html2. http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/dunn.htm