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Ed Reep, WWII Army Artist

Edward Reep, WWII Combat Artist
1918 - 2013

Edward Reep, one of our last surviving World War II Army Artists, passed away on February 28, 2013 at the age of 94. On his experience, Reep wrote: "Many times I painted and sketched while a battle raged. I was shelled, mortared, and strafed - the last a terrifying experience. At Monte Cassino the earth trembled (and so did my hand) as I attempted to paint the historic bombing of the magnificent abbey. At Anzio I innocently waited for the monstrous German cannon "Anzio Annie" to lob its shells into the harbor so that I could study and record the gigantic geysers of water shooting skyward. (At this point it didn't occur to me that one might do me in.) I joined reconnaissance patrols to seek out the enemy. More willing than knowledgeable, I almost destroyed myself on two occasions through my own stupidity."

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Patrol - First Snow

Watercolor on paper, 1944


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The Morning After

Reep painted this work the morning after many of his friends were killed by a German bomb while watching a movie in an underground theater. "I painted these men with dazed looks, and clouds up above that seemed to reach like a dragon, like in the Goya's Disasters of War. Everything seemed to be tragic, terrible, and meaningless."

Gouache on paper, 1944


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Soldier Bathing

"There was a fellow who hauled a bathtub out of Notuno, and filled it with water, and then he punched a hole in the gas tank and lit it. The painting was nutty. That's all there was to it. How in the world could this man be smiling on a beachead where shell fire would come all the time, constantly?"

Watercolor/gouache on paper, 1944