Flags and Faces: David Lubin on the Art of the First World War

David Lubin’s forthcoming book, Flags and Faces: The Visual Culture of America’s First World War, shows how American artists, photographers, and graphic designers helped shape public perceptions about World War I. In commemoration of Veterans Day, David Lubin shares the stories behind ten images in the book:

  • Fig. 34. Mutilated French soldier with prosthesis from the Portrait Masks studio, 1918. Library of Congress. Public Domain.

    In 1917, Anna Coleman Ladd, a Boston sculptor with humanitarian concerns, persuaded the American Red Cross to open a “studio for portrait masks” in Paris. There she and a team of assistants crafted galvanized-copper face masks for soldiers who had been permanently disfigured in trench warfare to enable them to return to the workplace and their families. Here is one such mask. When the war ended, the studio closed and the masked men were left to their own devices, most likely to live the rest of their lives in seclusion. [To hear more from David Lubin on Anna Coleman Ladd, visit http://www.npr.org/2014/09/25/351441401/one-sculptors-answer-to-wwi-wounds-plaster-copper-and-paint]