Sketches of World War I coming to museum this week

Published on Saturday, 16 September 2017 22:13
Written by Angie DeRosa

Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Museum of American Art is partnering with the Connecticut State Library in Hartford and the New Britain Industrial Museum on an exhibit, “Harry Everett Townsend: Illustrations of a World War I Artist.”

The exhibit opens on Wednesday, Sept. 20, and commemorates the centenary of America’s entry into World War I by showing off a collection of war sketches by illustrator Harry Everett Townsend (1879-1941).

Townsend was one of eight official combat artists commissioned by the American Expeditionary Force to depict World War I for the American public.

Of those eight artists, he emerged as the group’s leading plane, tank, truck and artillery illustrator.

He spent over a year in France, observing the rigors of war and the advent of industrial combat.

Although Townsend’s drawings focus on extensive details of military hardware and blueprint notes, it has an expressive style to it as well.

The New Britain Industrial Museum - which should be up and running at its new location on 59 W. Main Street - will loan the art museum letters originally printed in The Stanley Worker, a newsletter for employees of The Stanley Works.

The letters were written by Stanley’s employees at war to their family and loved ones.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Connecticut State Library will present an installation of trench art - etchings done on artillery shells and canteens - at the Old State House in Hartford.

The state library will lend some of the objects to the New Britain exhibit, shown with a selection of Townsend’s soldier portraits.

The museum’s collection will consist of over 300 graphic sketches, ink drawings and watercolors that Townsend made as he moved through trenches, battlefields and army bases.

While some of the sketches evoke sadness and empathy, others show comic-like characters and loose lines to transport the viewer from a war-torn France to soldiers sharing a laugh in the midst of combat.

“Harry Everett Townsend: Illustrations of a World War I Artist” will be on view through Jan. 7, 2018.

Hours of operation are Sunday through Wednesday and Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is free for members and children under 12, $15 for adults, $12 for seniors ages 62 and up and $10 for youth ages 13-17 and students. Saturday admission is free from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 860-229-0257

Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, , General News, New Britain on Saturday, 16 September 2017 22:13. Updated: Saturday, 16 September 2017 22:16.