Edward Steichen fled Paris for New York in the autumn of 1914 at the onset of World War I. Three years later, he returned to France, wanting to become "a photographic reporter, as Mathew Brady had been in the Civil War." Steichen made aerial photographs for the U.S. Army's air reconnaissance division; his pictures were used to survey enemy territory, record enemy movements, and locate gun encampments.
A small village made up of stone houses, Vaux had been occupied by the Germans since the beginning of June 1918. With the aid of the local stonemason, the Second Division of the U.S. Marines drew up plans for an artillery barrage to retake the town building by building. The battle began at dawn on July 1, and the Marines reclaimed the village by noon the same day, effectively blocking the German advance on Paris.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, verso C to LC [on slant]: "Vaux #2. // July 1st // after attack. - // U.S. troops entering town // lower left corner - enemy dead // in center of street. further // up."
[Pace/MacGill Gallery to Waddell, March 29, 1984]; John C. Waddell
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ""Our Future Is In The Air": Photographs from the 1910s," November 10, 2010–April 10, 2011.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Photographs of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath," November 11, 2012–February 3, 2013.
Corcoran Gallery of Art. "WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Photographs of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath," June 29, 2013–September 29, 2013.
Brooklyn Museum. "WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Photographs of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath," November 8, 2013–February 2, 2014.
Hambourg, Maria Morris. The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars, Ford Motor Company Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. p. 20.