Sculpting Doughboys: Memory, Gender, and Taste in America’s World War I Memorials

TitleSculpting Doughboys: Memory, Gender, and Taste in America’s World War I Memorials
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWingate, Jennifer
Number of Pages229
CityFarnham, UK

Redressing the neglect of World War I memorials in art history scholarship and memory studies, this volume considers the hundreds of sculptures of American soldiers that dominated the nation's sculptural commemorative landscape after World War I. To better understand these 'doughboys', the name given to both members of the American Expeditionary Forces and the memorials erected in their image, this volume also considers their sculptural alternatives, including depictions of motherhood, nude male allegories, and expressions of anti-militarism. It addresses why doughboy sculptures came to occupy such a significant presence in interwar commemoration, even though art critics objected to their unrefined realism, by considering the social upheavals of the Red Scare, America's burgeoning consumer and popular culture, and the ambitions and idiosyncrasies of artistsand communities across the country. In doing so, this study also highlights the social and cultural tensions of the period as debates grew over art's changing role in society and as more women andimmigrant sculptors vied for a place and a voice in America's public sphere. Finally, this volume addresses the fate of these memorials nearly a century after they were dedicated and poses questions for reframing our relationship with war memorials today.

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