Bill Mauldin’s iconic war cartoons to be on display at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Pritzker Military Museum & Library will open an exhibition this week showcasing the artistic career of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Bill Mauldin and his drawn-out commentaries on the war.
“Drawn to Combat: Bill Mauldin & the Art of War” opens Friday at the museum, 104 S. Michigan Ave. downtown.
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“We are delighted to bring Bill Mauldin’s story to cultural forefront and present his talent and satire to a new audience,” said retired Illinois National Guard Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker – founder of the museum and cousin of Governor JB Pritzker – said in a press release. “The museum and library holds the largest collection of his works of art and with the archival items recently donated by the Bill Mauldin estate, we can give his cultural heritage the platform and honor that it deserved.
Mauldin’s cartoons provided commentary on the world as he saw it from the end of World War II to the end of the Cold War. He himself drew cartoons as a soldier during WWII and quickly became a nationally unionized political cartoonist.
“His art took him through World War II, where he used his own experiences and those of the oppressed infantryman to present a true account of life on the front lines,” the museum said in a press release. “Through his characters Willie and Joe, he was able to capture the cultural nuances of life in the military, bringing relief or comic trepidation – depending on the viewer – while simultaneously presenting the grim reality of war on the home front. .
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Returning to the United States after the war, Mauldin (1921-2003) joined the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as a political cartoonist, then joined the Chicago Sun-Times.
“What makes Mauldin so unique and forward thinking is his amazing ability to tackle complex issues – veterans, segregation, the civil rights movement, healthcare and economic inequality in America. – and distill it into unique images that compel the viewer to examine their own biases, ”museum and library curator James Brundage said in the press release. “His images continue to be relevant because we are still grappling with these issues and themes today.”
“Drawn to Combat: Bill Mauldin & the Art of War” will include 125 of Mauldin’s original drawings, 35 reproduced images and over 20 original artifacts. This New Mexico native’s full career from 1937 – while learning art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago – until 1994 when he ended his career at the Sun-Times.
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To learn more about the exhibition, click here.