This year marks the thirty-first anniversary of the beginning of a unique collection of American War Art. The late Griffith Bailey Coale, a muralist and an expert on small boats and ship models, is credited with organizing the Combat Artists Corps in the U. S. Navy in 1941.
The original works were painted in all naval combat theaters in World War II. Since then, combat artists have recorded the Navy at war in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, as well as at peace. The result is a huge collection now valued in excess of two and one-half million dollars.
Lieutenant Commander Coale, along with other artists, proved that amid the shot, shell, and assault of war, skilled artists can bring to canvas a lasting and truthful visualization of men fighting a war upon the sea.
Coale’s first assignment in 1941 took him aboard a warship en route to Iceland. His experiences in the North Atlantic before the official entry of the United States into the war are vividly portrayed in his works on convoys and antisubmarine patrol.