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I visited the exhibit The Great War: Art on the Front Line at the Toledo Museum of Art this fall.

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July 28, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I (1914–1918), a global conflict that resulted in more than 17-million deaths and another 20-million wounded. Its widespread deployment of mechanized and chemical warfare represented an application of science and technology that brought an end to what many had seen as the promise of industrialization to promote a peaceful and prosperous future.

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The art world reacted strongly to this unprecedented carnage. Many artists were involved in the fighting, their experiences profoundly affecting their worldview and their art. Whether they fought in the war or not, artists in Europe and America sought new styles and new philosophies to express their views of a society now forever changed.

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The Great War exhibit included paintings, sculpture and works on paper by Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Childe Hassam, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Käthe Kollwitz and others. It was a great opportunity for me to view many pieces of art that I have studied, read about and viewed only from books.  It was a great opportunity to personally interact with art that has impacted my life academically, intellectually, artistically and spiritually.  Thank you Toledo Museum for putting on a great exhibit!

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