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Woman Looking at a Helmet and Sword

Published onJan 31, 2022
Woman Looking at a Helmet and Sword

Christian Petersen (Danish-American, 1885-1961)

Woman Looking at a Helmet and Sword, mid-1940s

Featured in: From Time Immemorial (Neva M. Petersen Gallery)

Pencil and colored pencil on paper

Gift of Charlotte Petersen to Special Collections, Iowa State University Library. Transferred to University Museums. In the Christian Petersen Art Collection, Christian Petersen Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa UM99.225

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All of these drawings show Petersen’s ideas for a monument to World War II.  In all of them, a female figure in an attitude of mourning looks downward at a G.I. helmet typical of those worn in World War II.  In one, the helmet lies atop a sword, and in another it has rolled over at the base of a small cross. In a third sheet, the helmet has been placed on a short support in a composition that is reminiscent of a field marker for a battle casualty.  In Life magazine, posters from the Office of War Information, and other sources, Petersen could have seen many such images in which the helmet of the fallen soldier or Marine is hung from his rifle thrust into the ground where he died.

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