Portrait artist Albert K. Murray was commissioned as a lieutenant early in World War II and would serve on active duty as a combat artist—doing watercolors under live fire in the south of France. When the war ended, before returning to civilian life, he was assigned by the Navy to paint portraits of many of the admirals, generals, and civilian leaders who guided the war at sea. His words on the approach he took with his subjects accompany each of these portraits. For more of Murray’s post-World War II portraits, see the August issue of Naval History magazine.
Fleet Admiral William F. HalseyStarting the portrait in Halsey’s postwar Virginia home, Murray found his subject happy and at peace. He wanted the fiery wartime admiral. He quoted from a magazine about Halsey’s differences with Admiral Thomas Kinkaid over the Battle of Leyte Gulf. “‘Say,’ Halsey said, ‘you’re trying to get me annoyed, aren’t you?’ I said ‘Yes I am; I want this to be convincing as to the timeframe it’s representing.’ Yes, well he really didn’t get irritated; he did sober up. And those big bushy eyebrows of his knitted a few times.”