War Artists in the battle of Monte Cassino and in Italy in WW2.

Professional artists have been always appointed by government for information and propaganda . Most of them were  professional  artists and some times were talented  soldiers  who gave their persepective of the war, sometimes  poignant representation of what the war was about,  eyewitness of dramatic events.

I made some research to find sketches or paintings of Monte Cassino both from German and Allied Armies. It is far to b e complete but I would like to write about them, to know from their perspective,. what was like to live in Cassino and Italy during the War. That is only an initial collection and if you want to give your contribuition and send your stories and arts please contact me: danila.bracagliagmail.com

Here some of the Artists and their paintings

Edward Herzbaum: an intellectual and talented artist in the battle of Monte Cassino, 2nd Polish corps (picture n. 4)

The first artist I would like to mention is Edward Herzbaum. A few years ago I met his daughter and granddaughter (who is also an artist) fas they booked a tour of Monte Cassino and we followed a diary written during the war by Edward Herzbaum. It is now available and I would suggest for anyone interested to buy it online, the title is "Lost Between Worlds" where you can learn more about what happened to the Poles  from the moment they were imprisoned by the Soviets and sent to Syberia to the end of the WW2. When he was imprisoned by the Soviets he was a student of Architecture. After WW2 was over Edward  continued his study as architect in the faculty of Architecture in Rome, the famous Valle Giulia.

Please follow the link to learn about Edward Herzbaum and to see his arts


ED REEP: Painting of the bombing of Monte Cassino (picture n. 1)

Soon after graduating from The Art Center School, and five months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Reep enlisted in the Army as a Private. After getting an assignment as an Overseas Artist, Reep skeched and painted throughout North Africa and Italy. He often found himself in the thick of battle and was repeatedly strafed, bombed, and shot at while painting the war. He was awarded the Bronze Star, promoted twice on the battlefield and left the army as a Captain. Reep returned home to work on a Guggenheim Fellowship, awaded to him on the basis of the paintings he made in Italy. After the war he taught painting and drawing at the Art Center College, East Carolina University, and the California Institute of the Arts. He lived  in Bakersfield, California until he passed away at the age of 94 on 28th February 2013.

TOM CRAIG: US ARMY ARTIST (picture n. 2)

Thomas Craig (1909-1969) Born: Upland, CA; Studied: Pomona College (California), University of California (Berkeley), University of Southern California; Member: California Water Color Society, Philadelphia Water Color Society. Thomas Craig was born and raised near Los Angeles. After studying botany at the University of California (Berkeley), he received art instruction from F. Tolles Chamberlin, Clarence Hinkle and Millard Sheets in Southern California.

His innovative watercolors helped earn him a Guggenheim Fellowship in the early 1940s, which supported a painting trip across America. After serving as a war artist in World War II, Craig stopped painting and went back to his botanical interests.

Although he actively painted and exhibited for only about twenty years, he played an important role in the development of the California Style of watercolor painting. His works were exhibited in many important shows including the California Group traveling exhibitions.

HERBERT AGRICOLA: The German artist who saved one of the paintings of Monte Cassino (picture n. 3) 

Herbert  Agricola was an official German war Artiss.  On 17th February 1944, after the bombing, the German paratroopers fortified the rubble and Monte Cassino became a German outpost.  There is a painting made by over and When Herbert Agricola was sent to Monte Cassino after February 1944 he made a painting of the abbey occupied by the Germans that I would be very interested to see it but no luck up to the date.  The painting of Herbert Agricola is now  preserved in US  “ Machine gunners in Cloister Monte Cassino” (Washington DC, Collection US Army)

Picture  n. 5 An other interesting story about the German painter is that during that “visit” to Monte Cassino he found  in the rubble a painting of the Assumption of Mary painted by Paolo De Matthias in 1680. It was risky to carry with him to Rome but decided to save the painting and after the restoration send it back.  He folded the big canvas (about 3 meters high) brought to Rome with him and then hid the painting in a farmouse ouside of Rome with the intention of restoring and send it back. In 1945 instead of retreating with the German Army, he was able to go back to Rome and found the painting in the same location he had left it over one year ago. He brought to Austria and afer the restoration was able to send it back to the Abbey. Today can be seen in a side chapel of the Church of Monte Cassino, on the right side of the Altar.

This post will be update very often so please  stay tuned to discover and learn  more about Combat WW2 Artists in Italy.