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Peace with Honor

1973 Elijah Pierce Born: Baldwyn, Mississippi 1892 Died: Columbus, Ohio 1984 painted wood, glitter 11 3/8 x 18 x 1 1/4 in. (28.9 x 45.7 x 3.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of David L. Davies 1992.37.4 Not currently on view


Luce Center Quote

“They claim to be talking about peace . . . but there’s more killing and slaughtering and hatred in the human heart than there ever was in history. These nations now, they’re just sayin’ peace, but going back and making ammunition and missiles and every other device.” Elijah Pierce, quoted in June Donmoyer, “Elijah Pierce: Woodcarver,” Antique Review Preview, August 1985

Luce Center Label

This carving shows two world leaders shaking hands, as if negotiating peace, but the tools hidden behind their backs and the two devils suggest that they do not mean what they say. This image of deception was probably inspired by Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign promise to achieve “peace with honor” in Vietnam. The war would not end for several years, however, and during his presidency Nixon approved large-scale bombing of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Keywords

Allegory - quality - deceit

Allegory - quality - harmony

Figure group - male

Object - weapon - axe

Object - weapon - dagger

Religion - Satan

sculpture

folk art

paint

wood

About Elijah Pierce

Born: Baldwyn, Mississippi 1892 Died: Columbus, Ohio 1984

More works in the collection by
Elijah Pierce