Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Le Monument aux Morts

From these last two posts you'd think I have an abiding interest in sculpture, particularly war sculpture, but...well actually, maybe I do.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, a rather remote place about 30 minutes from Interstate 81 in Southwest Virginia. Bedford has the unfortunate distinction of being the community that lost the most boys on D-Day (nineteen).

The D-Day Memorial is a basically a memorial park, conceptually similar in many ways to the WW2 memorial in Washington. There are a number of sculptures around the site, which I'll leave to you to check out on your own here: www.dday.org, but there was one particular piece that caught my eye, distastefully at first, brilliantly on reflection.

It's called Le Monument aux Morts (which apparently means "war memorial"). The statue is a replica of an original memorial statue by Edmond de Laheudrie, that was dedicated in 1920 in the town of Trevieres, France in memory of 43 French soldiers from Trevieres who were killed in World War One. The statue is a classical female victory figure in pseudo-Poilu garb holding a sword.

Twenty-four years later, on June 8, 1944, Trevieres found itself in the the middle of not only a war, but a battle, during which the memorial itself was struck in the head by shrapnel, removing its jaw and most of its throat. After World War Two ended, the town elected to not repair the statue, but to keep it as it was, a mute and disturbing symbol of the fragility of the peace.

In 2002 the original Laheudrie statue was recast, battle damage and all, and presented by the Wildenstein family, the mayor of Trevieres and the Consul General of Calvados to the D-Day Memorial, marking the second time that the nation of France has presented a statue to the United States.

My companion described it as "very creepy and wonderful," which it is, and a most fitting memorial to the D-Day invasion and World War Two in general.

A United States M.P. and a Trevieres resident examine the fallen statue in the Summer of 1944.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Those of you have ever considered buying instructional art videos should go check out SmartFlix.com.

They have an extensive collection of those usually super-expensive DVDs that I always wanted to see, but always cost too much to buy (and of course the library never has them).

They have all of Richards Schmid's landscape DVDs, which are great (I've rented them all), and they have Burt Silverman's (my favorite figure painter) DVDs. I own one of Silverman's programs on VHS, but it's such a pain to get that player to work, I just rented the DVD.

They have an affiliate program, too. So if you click through here, I get some sort of credit (so by all means click through here).

They have a bunch of non-art stuff too of course (car repair, home repair, etc) and a huge collection of Digital Art DVDs--photoshop, illustrator, flash, etc (speaking of super expensive).

Great resource!

And by the way, if you see something cool that you'd recommend, please let me know!