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Francisco de Goya (Spanish, 1746-1828), Carretadas al Cementerio (Carloads to the Cemetery) from the series Los Desastres de la Guerra (the Disasters of War), circa 1808-1814 (printed in 1863), etching, aquatint, drypoint, burin, and burnisher on paper, image: 5 x 7 1/8 inches, sheet: 9 3/8 x 13 inches. Museum purchase, funds from the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Acquisitions Fund, H2006.29.01.
Oct 05, 2008
throughApr 04, 2009

This is War! The Pain, Power, and Paradox of Images

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The University of Richmond Museums presents This is War! The Pain, Power, and Paradox of Images, on view from October 5, 2008, to April 4, 2009, in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art and Print Study Center. The exhibition consists of more than eighty pieces from the University Museum’s permanent collection, which convey war from diverse perspectives and time periods throughout history. With works ranging from etchings and lithographs to drawings and photographs, the exhibition incorporates powerful and provocative imagery from as early as the sixteenth century.
About the Exhibition

Highlights of the exhibition include the complete series of etchings Les Misères et les Malheurs de la Guerre (1633) by Jacques Callot (French, 1592-1635), an etching by Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969), depicting a bombed house in Tournai from his 1924 Der Krieg portfolio, and a 2000 digital print by Gerhard Richter (German, born 1932) of a World War II reconnaissance photograph. The spectrum of works by artists, including Guy Arnoux (French, 1886-1951), Pierre Daura (Catalán-American, 1896-1976), Kerr Eby (American, 1890-1946), Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910), Avel de Knight (American, 1921-1995), James McBey (Scottish, 1886-1959), and Kara Walker (American, born 1969), examines war and its many manifestations.

This is War! illustrates the many attitudes and emotions that society experiences through the hostility of warfare and the consequential degradations of humanity. Displaying horrific scenes of suffering as well as glorious victories in battle, the exhibition brings together a variety of images that are united in a paradox of emotion. While some works focus on the grotesque of war’s detriment, others reveal subtle beauty within such painful images. From the grieving mother in the lithograph Gefallen (1921) by Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1945) to the violent deaths depicted in the print series Los Desastres de la Guerra (1810-1820) by Francisco de Goya (Spanish, 1746-1828), the exhibition recognizes the turmoil and anguish as well as the bravery and honor apparent within war.

Selected works also examine the effects of war on soldiers, citizens, and nations as a whole. A perennial subject in all of the arts, war continually raises controversies regarding morality and politics. Coinciding with the upcoming 2008 American presidential election, This is War! reminds viewers of present-day issues in society. Contemporary works respond to the current war on terror and the events of September 11th, 2001, such as the etching New York 9-1-1 by Joan Tallan (American, born 1937). Similar views of mortality and cruelty demonstrate that war is both universal and timeless.

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was curated by Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, with assistance from Katie Der, ’11, business administration and studio art double major, University of Richmond, and the 2008 Harnett Summer Research Fellow, University Museums. The exhibition is made possible in part with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund and the generous support of the University’s Cultural Affairs Committee.

The exhibition is part of the University’s yearlong interdisciplinary focus, “Art & War,” with events and programs scheduled throughout the 2008-2009 academic year and coordinated by the Modlin Center for the Arts. 
Past Programming
Sunday, October 5, 2008
3 p.m., Neumann Lecture in Music, Music Department
Camp Concert Hall, Booker Hall
“You are in a place that is out of the world”: Music and Torture

By Suzanne G. Cusick, Professor of Music, New York University 
4 p.m., Harnett Museum of Art and Harnett Print Study Center
Reception and exhibition preview

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
7 p.m., Camp Concert Hall, Booker Hall
The Flaring Dark: Poetry & War

  • Dale Ritterbusch, Professor of Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Ron Smith, Upper School Teacher of English; Writer in Residence; George Squires English Chair, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond
  • David Wojahn, Professor and Director of Creative Writing, English Department, Virginia Commonwealth University

Monday, March 16, 2009
7:30 p.m., Booker Hall of Music Concert Series
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Center for the Arts
Madrigals of Love and War
Performed by Jennifer Cable and Jeffrey Riehl, University of Richmond faculty
Joined by Kenneth Merrill, Julliard School faculty