Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War

ISBN : 9780190218614

David Lubin
376 Pages
178 x 254 mm
Pub date
Jun 2016
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A vivid, engaging account of the artists and artworks that sought to make sense of America's first total war, Grand Illusions takes readers on a compelling journey through the major historical events leading up to and beyond US involvement in WWI to discover the vast and pervasive influence of the conflict on American visual culture. David M. Lubin presents a highly original examination of the era's fine arts and entertainment to show how they ranged from patriotic idealism to profound disillusionment. In stylishly written chapters, Lubin assesses the war's impact on two dozen painters, designers, photographers, and filmmakers from 1914 to 1933. He considers well-known figures such as Marcel Duchamp, John Singer Sargent, D. W. Griffith, and the African American outsider artist Horace Pippin while resurrecting forgotten artists such as the mask-maker Anna Coleman Ladd, the sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and the combat artist Claggett Wilson. The book is liberally furnished with illustrations from epoch-defining posters, paintings, photographs, and films. Armed with rich cultural-historical details and an interdisciplinary narrative approach, David Lubin creatively upends traditional understandings of the Great War's effects on the visual arts in America.



Part One
1. War, Modernism, and the American Spirit
2. Dangerous Waters
3. Mirroring Masculinity
4. Morning in America
5. Duchamp's Fountain

Part Two
6. To See or Not to See
7. Artists in Uniform
8. Fixing Faces
9. Monsters at Home
10. Epilogue: Men, Machines, and Apes

Works Cited

About the author: 

David M. Lubin is the Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University. He is the author of Shooting Kennedy: JFK and the Culture of Images and Picturing a Nation: Art and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century America, among others.

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