The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Saturday, September 20, 2014


Anne Morgan's War: Rebuilding Devastated France, 1917-1924 Opens Next Week
The children of Saint-Paul-aux-Bois, Saint-Paul-aux-Bois, 1919, sulfur-toned silver print. Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt.
NEW YORK, NY.- This remarkable exhibition brings to life the extraordinary work undertaken by a small team of American women volunteers who left comfortable lives in the United States to devote themselves to relief work in France during and after World War I. Their dynamic leader was Anne Morgan (1873–1952), a daughter of the financier Pierpont Morgan. As she rallied potential volunteers and donors on speaking tours across the United States, Morgan harnessed the power of documentary photography to foster a humanitarian response to the plight of French refugees. Anne Morgan’s War: Rebuilding Devastated France, 1917–1924 is on view at the Morgan Library and Museum from September 3 through November 21, 2010.

With haunting views of ruined French towns, portraits of refugees, and tableaux of American volunteers at work, the exhibition explores not only the human cost of war but also the potency of photographic propaganda and the influence of women’s activism. The show traces the fieldwork of the American Committee for Devastated France, the volunteer civilian relief organization that Morgan created with her friend Anne Murray Dike (1879–1929). Morgan, with her commanding presence and social prominence, took the lead in fundraising efforts, while Dike, trained as a physician, organized activities in the field.

Works on view are drawn from two major collections: fifty photographs and a montage of silent films are on loan from the Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt, France, a national museum housed in the seventeenth-century château that served as the base of operations for the American Committee. Photograph albums, personal letters, sound recordings, and archival documents are drawn from the papers of Anne Morgan at The Morgan Library & Museum.

“It is a privilege for the Morgan to bring together these compelling photographs and silent films to tell a little known, but important story of American volunteerism at the close of World War I,” said William M. Griswold, director of the Morgan. “While the images were used primarily as documentary evidence to help raise funds for the relief of France, they exhibit a consistent level of quality that goes beyond simple propaganda photography. Moreover the films are an early example of the utilization of a relatively new technology to deliver a potent and emotional message.”

Photographing Devastated France
When the first American volunteers arrived in northeastern France in 1917, they witnessed destruction on an astonishing scale. Several years of war had decimated the French countryside. “You can travel in a motor going forward in a straight line for fifteen hours and see nothing but ruins,” Anne Murray Dike explained in 1919. People had lost nearly everything—not only their homes and livelihoods but a whole generation of young men.

The committee commissioned photographs of the devastation in Picardy as well as the committee’s activities. Full-page images ran in American newspapers, exhibitions were mounted, and sets of prints were sold for three dollars a dozen. The photographs conveyed to Americans the enormous need for relief in the form of monetary support, donations in kind, and volunteerism.

Images such as Mme. Compagnon: “They shall not pass” captured the craggy faces of exhausted refugees—twice evacuated during the German occupation—after they had made their way back to their ruined villages, determined to resume life on their home soil.

Silent Films on View
As early as 1914, Anne Morgan had recognized the fund-raising potential of film, hosting the first New York screening of the Chicago Tribune’s groundbreaking war newsreels. Over the next few years, millions of Americans crowded into theaters to watch similar footage, a portion of the box office proceeds often Mme. Compagnon says, “They shall not pass,” Saint-Bandry 1919, sulfur-toned silver print, Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt. benefiting organizations such as the Red Cross. When Morgan’s own relief committee launched operations in France in 1917, the moving image became a central tool in its publicity campaign. While the earliest films were produced in cooperation with the French army’s well established cinema unit, the American Committee later formed its own dedicated filmmaking team.

American Volunteers at Work
The American Committee for Devastated France was one of many relief organizations—often founded and staffed by women—that sprang up in the United States during the First World War. The group was relatively small (some 350 women of a total of 25,000 who served abroad during the war), but the effects of its commitment were profound. Side by side with the people of northeastern France, these women created an astonishing array of services to revitalize life in a region considered by many to be beyond redemption.

Committee applicants were required to speak French, hold a driver’s license, and—in most cases—pay their own expenses, which could amount to $1,500 for a typical six-month stint. The requisite blue martial uniforms could be made to order for $45 at B. Altman Co. As she recruited volunteers, Anne Morgan made clear that an earnest commitment was expected. “We do not want sightseers who would like to go over for half a year to view France’s battlefields,” she told The New York Times.

Sporting bobbed hair and working attire, committee drivers, or chauffeuses, struck the people of Picardy as the embodiment of the modern woman. Few French women of the time were licensed to drive, but American volunteers (including Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas with the American Fund for French Wounded) took the wheel in service to a range of relief organizations.

Philippe Pétain, the French army’s commander-in-chief, arranged for the committee to establish headquarters in the seventeenth-century Château de Blérancourt—less than forty miles from the front. The women lived in barracks, worked long hours, and enjoyed intense camaraderie. “How Father would have hated these modern independent young women,” wrote one volunteer, Marian Bartol, in a letter on view in the exhibition.

American Medical Women in the Field
Many of the women physicians in the United States (six thousand at the time of the First World War) were eager to contribute their professional expertise but were barred from officer status in the military medical corps. Margaret Ethel Fraser, a Denver gynecologist, joined the American Women’s Hospitals (AWH), which was formed in 1917 to provide a venue for wartime service. The AWH formed a productive alliance with the American Committee for Devastated France, setting up a range of medical services in the hardest-hit regions.

When writer Alexander Woollcott visited France in 1920, he was impressed by “a sunny, competent looking woman from Denver” who emerged from a “neat little shack” in the devastated regions. An affiliate of the American Women’s Hospitals, dentist Edna Ward provided cleanings, fillings, extractions, and instruction in basic dental hygiene. “It is amusing,” wrote Woollcott, “to watch . . . children scamper away down the lane of ruins, each right hand bristling with a brand-new toothbrush.”

Mary Breckinridge (1881–1965), a pioneer in the practice of nurse-midwifery in America, was one of the committee’s most distinguished volunteers. She organized children’s health services, collaborated with the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing in Bordeaux, and studied midwifery and public health before returning home to Kentucky. There, drawing on her experience in post-war Europe, she created the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies (now the Frontier Nursing Service) that sent nurses on horseback to women in the rural mountains.

The Children of Devastated France
French children were particularly scarred by the ravages of war. The youngest had spent their entire lives as refugees; many had never known their fathers. When the American Committee commissioned these photographs of the devastated regions to publicize the people’s plight, the beautiful faces of French children—some posed in shabby clothing, others neatly dressed as they engaged in volunteer-sponsored activities—were featured prominently.

The American volunteers addressed the children’s immediate needs for wholesome food, clothing, and Mary Breckinridge’s infant clinic (detail), Vic-sur-Aisne, 1919, sulfur-toned silver print, Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt.
The children of Saint-Paul-aux-Bois, Saint-Paul-aux-Bois, 1919, sulfur-toned silver print. Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt. medical care but quickly turned their attention from emergency aid to long-term support in the form of schools, libraries, and socialization, leaving an enduring legacy in the region.

Bookmobiles and public libraries were an outgrowth of a major educational initiative that constituted one of the American Committee’s most profound legacies. Partnering with Jessie Carson, a librarian at the New York Public Library and chair of the businesswomen’s unit of the National League for Women’s Service, the committee founded a network of public lending libraries in the region that eventually served as a national model. The committee’s public libraries, housed in spacious barracks, included children’s sections—a novelty in France—with recreational activities such as a story hour.

Anne Morgan´s Legacy
Anne Morgan purchased the seventeenth-century château that had served as the base of operations for the American Committee for Devastated France and donated the property to the town of Blérancourt. She founded a museum there to document the history of French-American cooperation, from French contributions to the American Revolution to American service in France during the Great War. Now a French national museum, the château and its splendid grounds are scheduled to reopen in 2012 after a major renovation by architect Yves Lion.

In 1948, after a visit to Blérancourt, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote of her thoughts as she passed through its monumental gate. “You can still imagine how grand the old château must have been rising beyond it,” she wrote. “But you also are forced to wonder all over again, as you drive in, whether we human beings are bound to go on destroying each other and our possessions forever.”

Anne Morgan
Anne Morgan was the youngest of the four children of Pierpont Morgan and his second wife, Fanny. Anne and her brother, Jack, would both play key roles during the First World War. While Anne founded a major civilian relief organization, Jack led the firm J. P. Morgan & Co., which heavily financed the Western Allies even as the United States remained officially neutral.

When the Second World War again brought devastation to northeastern France including Anne Morgan’s beloved Blérancourt—she took action a second time. Joining with veterans of her World War I committee and their sons and daughters, she formed the American Friends of France and the Comité Americain de Secours Civil, its French counterpart.

In 1924 Marshal Pétain honored the two Annes who had done so much to revitalize devastated France—by making them officers of the French Legion of Honor in a ceremony at Blérancourt. In 1932 (after Dike’s death), Morgan was elevated to the rank of Commander, which was held at the time by only one other woman, the Countess de Noailles. Morgan was the first American woman to receive the French honor. After her death at the age of seventy-eight in 1952, she became the first American—and the first woman— to be honored with a marble plaque in the Court of Honor at the Hôtel des Invalides, near Napoleon’s tomb in Paris.



Last Week News

August 27, 2010

Frank Gehry Presents Luma: Parc des Ateliers Project at Venice Architecture Biennale

Georgia Museum of Art Acquires Two Paintings from West Foundation Collection

Christie's to Offer Works from the Alastair Bradley Martin Estate

Tut-Tut: Security Problems Seen in Most of Egypt's Museums

The New School Names David E. Van Zandt New President

Winnipeg Art Gallery Acquires Important Painting by John Everett Millais

Bonhams Offer Masterpiece from One of the Greatest Arab Artists in Dubai Sale

John Gossage: The Pond Opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Documentary on Purported Adams' Negatives Canceled

Dramatic Painting Capturing World War Two Horrors Acquired for Ben Uri

David Gordon Franklin Named Director of Cleveland Museum of Art

Recently Acquired Works of Art on View at the Menil Collection

Chinese Dinosaur Fossils Make North America Debut in Cincinnati

A Series of New Korean Films to Be Presented at MoMA

War Planes to Be the Star in WWII Museum Expansion

Christie's to Offer One of the Most Important Collections of Archaic Bronzes

Mexico's Anthropology Specialists Identify Name of Maya Ruler

Leeds Art Gallery Displays Major Elisabeth Frink Sculpture

Lewis & Clark Among Top Lots at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' Auction

National Museum Wales Acquires Important Venetian Painting

Nick Cave's World-Famous Soundsuits Featured in the Pages of Vogue

Amon Carter Museum of American Art Announces New Registrar

Will Tough Times Trigger Wealthy Banks and Companies to Sell their Art?

Sotheby's to Hold a Sale of the Contents of One of England's Most Romantic Country Houses

National Gallery of Australia Announces $7 Million Philanthropic Gift from Pauline Gandel and John Gandel AO

Fire Razes Historic Warrior King Site in Zimbabwe

Auschwitz Memorial Acquires Nazi Medical Devices

August 26, 2010

Egypt's Antiquities Department Announces Discovery of 3,500-Year-Old Oasis Trading Post

National Museum Wales Acquires Important Venetian Painting

Lewis & Clark Among Top Lots at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' Auction

Leeds Art Gallery Displays Major Elisabeth Frink Sculpture

Mexico's Anthropology Specialists Identify Name of Maya Ruler

Will Tough Times Trigger Wealthy Banks and Companies to Sell their Art?

Sotheby's to Hold a Sale of the Contents of One of England's Most Romantic Country Houses

Nick Cave's World-Famous Soundsuits Featured in the Pages of Vogue

Amon Carter Museum of American Art Announces New Registrar

Christie's to Offer One of the Most Important Collections of Archaic Bronzes

Christie's to Sell Property from Highly Respected Interior Decorator Robert Kime

Egyptian Tycoon, Naguib Sawiris, Offers Reward for Van Gogh Theft

Hebrew Manuscripts on View during High Holy Days at Metropolitan Museum

IMA to Present Video Exhibition Examining the Relationship Between Camera Frame and Unbounded Space

Debbie Reynolds' Collection to Highlight September Auction of Furniture and Decorative Arts

Mosque Developer Claims a Classic NYC Background

Jim Henson's Original Kermit the Frog Comes Home to Washington

£35,000 Model Steam Engine Labelled "Mechanical Marvel of the Day" in 1898 to Sell at Bonhams

Relics from Captain Scott's Fatal Last Epedition to Be Offered at Christie's

Larry Gagosian to Present Masterpieces from His Private Collection

Bacardi Celebrates Ties to Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

National Archives to House Infamous Nazi World War II Papers

Norman Foster Designs First Office Headquarters in Argentina

Marlborough in London Presents the Work of Caroline Walker

Christie's Presents Highest Value South Asian Art Sale Ever Offered

Bavarian State Library: First Worldwide to Offer Precious Digitalized Key Books

Jeff Koons' Infamous "Made in Heaven" Series to Go Back On View at Luxembourg & Dayan

Colorado's Once-Missing Moon Rock to Be Unveiled

August 25, 2010

Mexican Archaeologists Extract 10,000 Year-Old Skeleton from Flooded Cave in Quintana Roo

Christie's Presents Highest Value South Asian Art Sale Ever Offered

Bavarian State Library: First Worldwide to Offer Precious Digitalized Key Books

Jeff Koons' Infamous "Made in Heaven" Series to Go Back On View at Luxembourg & Dayan

Relics from Captain Scott's Fatal Last Epedition to Be Offered at Christie's

Larry Gagosian to Present Masterpieces from His Private Collection

Bacardi Celebrates Ties to Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

National Archives to House Infamous Nazi World War II Papers

Norman Foster Designs First Office Headquarters in Argentina

Marlborough in London Presents the Work of Caroline Walker

Newseum in Washington Retells Katrina Story 5 Years Later

Sculptures and Paintings Lead Christie's Sale of Indian and Southeast Asian Art

Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archeological Plunder and Obsession

Group Representing Ansel Adams Sues Over Garage Sale Negatives

Haus Konstruktiv Celebrates Concrete, Constructivist and Conceptual Art

Egypt Culture Chief, Farouk Hosni, Sleepless Over Van Gogh Theft

Major International Art Project to Bring Dialogue Between the UK and Turkey

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Sotheby's

PBS Launches New "PBS Arts" Site to Expand Arts Content

United Kingdom Show Explores Jimi Hendrix's Links to Handel

United States Funds Restoration of Global Islamic Sites

Leonardo's Last Supper by Peter Greenaway at Park Avenue Armory

Nokuthula Ngwenyama Named 2010 Taft Museum of Art Duncanson Artist-in-Residence

Annual Auction of Modern & Vintage Sporting Guns at Gleneagles Fetches £375,063

Copper Cast of Lady Liberty's Nose Up for Auction

August 24, 2010

Eli Broad Picks Downtown Los Angeles Site for Art Museum to Showcase His Collection

Newseum in Washington Retells Katrina Story 5 Years Later

Exceptional Bronzes, Sculpture and Paintings Lead Christie's Sale of Indian and Southeast Asian Art

Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archeological Plunder and Obsession

PBS Launches New "PBS Arts" Site to Expand Arts Content

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Sotheby's

Major International Art Project to Bring Dialogue Between the UK and Turkey

Haus Konstruktiv Celebrates 100-Year-Long History of Concrete, Constructivist and Conceptual Art

Group Representing Ansel Adams Sues Over Garage Sale Negatives

Egypt Culture Chief, Farouk Hosni, Sleepless Over Van Gogh Theft

Painting by Egon Schiele Stolen by Nazis Back in Austrian Museum

Empire State Building Cries Foul Over Proposed Rival Nearby

Spy Museum Adds Another Former Spy to Staff in Washington DC

Apply Yourself to Impressionist Gardens with New iPhone App

Large Scale Etchings by Richard Serra at Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie

The Whitney to Present Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time

Storm Knocks Down Monumental Tree that Cheered Anne Frank

Acropolis Open for Full Moon as Pay Dispute Solved

Who Shot Rock and Roll Ends Nation-Wide Tour at the Columbia Museum of Art

Trial Date Set in Associated Press-Shepard Fairey Dispute in NYC

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas to Feature First Romero Britto Store at Sea

San Jose Museum Opens First Museum Survey Devoted to Work of Leo Villareal

Asian Art Dealers New York Announce Exciting Fall Schedule of Exhibitions

Sotheby's London to Hold First-Ever Sale of Chimneypieces

100% Success in Gstaad: Entire Peter F. Baumberger Motor Car Collection Sold by Bonhams

Harn Museum of Art Receives $4.2 Million Collection of Asian Art

Sotheby's Hong Kong To Offer The Bordeaux Collection from SK Networks

August 23, 2010

Pomeranian State Museum to Open Exhibition by Three Masters of German Romanticism

Painting by Egon Schiele Stolen by Nazis Back in Austrian Museum

Billionaire Eli Broad Chooses Los Angeles Site for Art Museum

Egypt Deputy Minister, Mohsen Shalaan, Detained Over Van Gogh Theft

Apply Yourself to Impressionist Gardens with New iPhone App

Large Scale Etchings 1981-1990 by Richard Serra at Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie

The Whitney to Present Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time

New Exhibition of African Art at the Dallas Museum of Art

Faulty Alarms Blamed for Van Gogh Theft at Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Egypt

Japanese Art Dealers Association Announces Asia Week Exhibitions

Park Avenue Armory Welcomes Yoshitomo Nara + YNG for Open Studio

Craftsman Seeks to Save Millennium-Old World of Chinese Lead Type

European Masterpieces Opening Soon at the Royal Academy of Arts

Countdown to Auctions America Debut in Auburn

Chinati Foundation Names Dr. Thomas Kellein as Director

Art Fair Tokyo Announces New Organizational Structure

VIP Art Fair: The First Art Fair to Launch in January Exclusively Online

Anne Noble: At the End of the Earth Opens at Stills Gallery in Sydney

Resounding Success at this Year's Art Nocturne Knocke

LA Unveils $578M School, Costliest in the Nation, Fine Art Murals Included

Group Exhibition of 8 Korean Media Artists to Open at Gallery Hyundai

New Orleans to Remember Hurricane Katrina with Richard Misrach Exhibition

New Installation by Trenton Doyle Hancock Takes Over the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park

August 22, 2010

Faulty Alarms Blamed for Van Gogh Theft at Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Egypt

Park Avenue Armory Welcomes Yoshitomo Nara + YNG for Open Studio

Taiwan Craftsman Seeks to Save Millennium-Old World of Chinese Lead Type

European Masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele Opening Soon at the Royal Academy of Arts

National Galleries of Scotland to Celebrate the Work of William McTaggart

The Morgan to Show Black-and-White Drawings by Roy Lichtenstein

Keith Haring and Andy Warhol to Star in American Pop Art Show

National Portrait Gallery Presents The John Partridge Sketchbook, 1823-27

Exhibition of North African Jewelry and Photography Announced in Philadelphia

James McNeill Whistler Prints on View at the University of Michigan

National Portrait Gallery to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of "Peanuts" Debut

German Artist and Director Christoph Schlingensief Dies at Age 49

Five Local-Born Artists in UK's Largest Painting Prize  

Kunsthaus Zürich to Show "Karl Moser: Art and Architecture"

Bonhams Scottish Sale Defies the Recession to Make £1,800,000

Per Kirkeby Creates Specific Work for Beulas Foundation's Art and Nature Center

Chinese Ceramics, Culture and Commerce on View at the Norton Museum of Art

Arkansas Arts Center Presents Bigger, Better, More: The Art of Viola Frey

Dundee Contemporary Arts Presents New Works by Mary Redmond and Sara MacKillop in Two Solo Exhibitions

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Fever mounts as stunning statues found at Alexander The Great-era tomb

2.- Hi-tech underground scans reveal vast complex of monuments at Britain's Stonehenge

3.- National Geographic Museum opens exhibition featuring shark-munching Spinosaurus

4.- First major New York City exhibition to explore Vienna Actionism opens at Hauser & Wirth

5.- Elizabeth I 'airbrushed' for 18th century make-over and a bug is found in Edward VI

6.- Award winning Swedish director Daniel Fridell to direct Kalliope Films' Vincent Van Gogh biopic

7.- Comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Joan Miró's work opens at the Albertina

8.- Synchrotron radiation technology in art conservation: Science to the rescue of art

9.- Mona Kuhn's first solo exhibition in the US opens at Edwynn Houk Gallery

10.- Sotheby's announces details of its sales series for Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site