Renowned American portrait artist Albert K. Murray—viewed by many as being in the same league as John Singer Sargent—reflected on his art in an oral history published by the U.S. Naval Institute in 1994. He was commissioned as a lieutenant early in World War II and served on active duty as a combat artist and portraitist before returning to his New York studio in the late 1940s.
As a two-striper in the landings in southern France, Murray moved up into the mountains with a fire control officer from one of the destroyers and broke out his watercolors on a terrace behind a parapet, with German shells exploding near and far. An Army voice shouted out, “‘For God’s sake, Captain, don’t you realize you’re a target out there.’ . . . Then the next round came; that was five. My dog tags were hanging down from my neck on a chain, and one of the pieces of shrapnel cut a dog tag off. I still have one, but shrapnel got the other,” Murray recalled.