Michener Art Museum

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Past Exhibitions

From Swords to Plowshares: Metal Trench Art From WWI and WWII

March 14 – May 31, 2009
Wachovia Gallery

When one thinks of the art and craft of warfare, images of beautifully-crafted vases, ashtrays, lamps, and crucifixes probably do not come to mind. But soldiers on the front lines in WWI and WWII often spent their idle time making art, and this exhibition is a comprehensive survey of this remarkable art form often described as "trench art". Some of these soldiers did not have formal training, while others came from metal-working occupations; they found an abundance of workable material littering the landscape, including artillery shells, bullets, shrapnel, and miscellaneous scrap metal. Prisoners of war and convalescing soldiers also made trench art, as did local artisans who created pieces to be sold as souvenirs to soldiers or to grieving widows and family members visiting the post-war battle-fields. From Swords to Plowshares included more than 300 pieces of unique, handmade trench art from the Hollingsworth Collection in Orlando, Florida, and features work from the United States, England, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, and Hungary.

Image: Unknown artist (Hungarian), Decorated artillery shell, WWII. H. 15.125 x W. 3.5 inches. Collection of Hollingsworth Fine Arts.

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