Orcastra at War

  • Louis Monza, Orcastra at War, 1943, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.131

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.

Luce Object 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
Title
Orcastra at War
Artist
Date
1943
On View
Dimensions
26 x 32 in. (65.9 x 81.2 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Performing arts – music – orchestra
  • Allegory – civic – war
  • Allegory – other – Molotov, V. M.
  • Portrait male – Roosevelt, Franklin Delano
  • Figure group
Object Number
1986.65.131
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

1972
colored pencil and ink on paper

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