America’s National WWI Museum and Memorial celebrates the opening of its new, $5m Wylie gallery space with an exhibition dedicated to John Singer Sargent’s monumental painting, Gassed.
The 21ft-long work, on loan from London’s Imperial War Museum, depicts a line of blinded British soldiers making their way to a dressing station near Arras, while other wounded men lie on the ground.
Redolent with loss
The exhibition, which runs from 23 February to 23 June, also includes preliminary sketches, maps showing the dressing station’s location and objects relating to the chemical warfare that took place across the Western Front.
The huge painting has lost none of its ability to shock and is redolent with the waste of life and youth that was such a feature of the First World War.
On seeing the work for the first time, Sir Winston Churchill, himself a veteran of the trenches, wrote: ‘With all its brilliant genius and painful significance… how the field of national psychology must have been harrowed by events which had taken place during the war.’