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

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.

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 171982
Orcastra at War
2632 in. (65.981.2 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

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

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