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Orcastra at War

1943 Louis Monza Born: Turate, Italy 1897 Died: Redondo Beach, California 1984 oil on canvas 26 x 32 in. (65.9 x 81.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.131 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 24A

Luce Center Quote

"What goes in has to come out, I paint what I think and feel, whether it is good or bad. My works are my conscience and my mind." Louis Monza, "The Independent Style of a Self-taught Artist," Carol Hazard, Palos Verdes Peninsula News, April 17, 1982

Luce Center Label

Louis Monza was a passionate pacifist and socialist whose dramatic paintings highlighted the brutality of war. This image shows a grim group of figures huddled together against a backdrop of war-torn buildings. The piano player represents Franklin D. Roosevelt, while the drummer is Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, a key figure in the Bolshevik Revolution and Soviet commissar of foreign affairs in the 1940s (Josephine Gibbs, "Louis Monza, Primitive," Art Digest 18, November 1943, and Lynda Hartigan, Made with Passion, 1990). Monza's painting illustrates the uneasy alliance that brought the Second World War to an end and hints at the events that soon put these players at odds with one another.


Allegory - civic - war

Allegory - other - Molotov, V. M.

Figure group

Performing arts - music - orchestra

Portrait male - Roosevelt, Franklin Delano


folk art

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Louis Monza

Born: Turate, Italy 1897 Died: Redondo Beach, California 1984

More works in the collection by
Louis Monza