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Exhibitions/ World War I and the Visual Arts

World War I and the Visual Arts

At The Met Fifth Avenue
July 31, 2017–January 7, 2018

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Expressing a range of emotions, the selected works in this Bulletin powerfully evoke how artists responded to the world's first modern war.

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Exhibition Overview

Organized to commemorate the anniversary of World War I, this exhibition focuses on the impact of the war on the visual arts. Moving chronologically from its outbreak to the decade after the armistice, World War I and the Visual Arts highlights the diverse ways artists represented the horrors of modern warfare. The works on view reflect a variety of responses, ranging from nationalist enthusiasm to a more somber reflection on the carnage and mass devastation that resulted.

The exhibition, drawn mainly from the collection of The Met and supplemented with select loans, includes prints, drawings, photographs, illustrated books, posters, periodicals, World War I trading cards from the Museum's celebrated Burdick Collection, and other documentary material. This exhibition reveals how artists—including Otto Dix, C.R.W. Nevinson, George Grosz, Käthe Kollwitz, Fernand Léger, Gino Severini, and Edward Steichen—reflected a myriad of styles, approaches, ideologies, and mediums in response to the war and how it influenced modern art.

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World War I and Contemporary Art


The exhibition is made possible by The Schiff Foundation.

Education programs are made possible by the General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA.

The Met's quarterly Bulletin program is supported in part by the Lila Acheson Wallace Fund for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, established by the cofounder of Reader's Digest.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

Exhibition Objects

Related Content

Detail view of a soldier wearing a gas mask as he maneuvers through a dark tunnel | Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (British, 1889–1946) | Tunnellers, 1916

Explore the artists, themes, and works on view in the exhibition in this Now at The Met blog series written by exhibition curator Jennifer Farrell and guest authors.

Detail views of three World War I helmets developed by Bashford Dean

Learn about the role of Bashford Dean—a former curator in The Met's Department of Arms and Armor—in the development of helmets and body armor during World War I in this Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History essay and Now at The Met blog series.

Exhibition image: Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (British, 1889–1946). Returning to the Trenches (detail), 1916. Drypoint, plate: 6 x 8 1/16 in. (15.2 x 20.4 cm); sheet: 8 3/8 x 11 in. (21.3 x 28 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1968 (68.510.3). ​Now at The Met image: Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945). Mothers (Mütter), 1919. Lithograph, sheet: 20 3/4 x 27 5/8 in. (52.7 x 70.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928 (28.68.3)