Second World War
Second World War art
The Australian Second World War collection has arisen
from many sources. Apart
from the Memorial's officially appointed and administered artists,
the Military History Section (MHS) seconded artists already enlisted
in the army, navy or air force. Works also came into the Memorial's
collection through independent schemes initiated by the Royal
Australian Air Force (RAAF) War History Section, Royal Australian
Navy Historical Records Section, and the Allied Works Council. O
ver the years the collection has been augmented by the acquisition
of works by non-commissioned artists. Taken together, it offers a
diverse interpretation of Australia's involvement in war and its
impact on society.
Britain's War Artists Scheme
The Imperial War Museum's collection of Second World War paintings,
acquired through the British government's War Artists Scheme (WAS),
and subsequently augmented by judicious collecting, surveys the breadth
of experience of civilian and military life, capturing the national
mood and responses to the war, as well as shaping our memory of it.
It shows the reality of modern war, the displays of force, but also
the fear and the tedium, and how the familiar could be juxtaposed
with the utterly strange and new.
Second World War official art program
The Canadian War Records (CWR), Canada's Second World War art program,
produced two kinds of art: field sketches and finished paintings.
The instructions charged the artists with portraying "significant events,
scenes, phases and episodes in the experience of the Canadian Armed
Forces," and required each of the 32 artists hired to produce a certain
number of paintings. The instructions make it clear that the War Artists'
valued these finished paintings. "Cartoons and sketches" were useful
only, the instructions note, "for the re-creation of atmosphere,
topography, and details of arms, vehicles, equipment, clothing,
participants and terrain, of aircraft and ships."
British Commonwealth at War
Britain and the dominion nations were the only powers that fought
in the war from its beginning in September 1939 to its end in
August 1945. Their forces served in all theatres of war, from the
gale-swept wastes of the Atlantic, to the skies over Europe, the
forests and fields of Europe, the deserts of North Africa and the
jungles and seas of southeast Asia. Each nation was wholly committed
to the war effort, and some (notably Britain but also Australia)
suffered direct attack. On the anniversary of final victory, what was
widely regarded as the Commonwealth's finest achievement, it is fitting
to recall the joint exertions and successes of the Commonwealth at