Minnesota artist’s mural recognizes World War I influences

Nov 05, 2018

See the three-panel exhibit in Northrop on Nov 11

In honor of Lest We Forget World War I Armistice Centenary Concert on Nov 11, Northrop will showcase the World War I America mural by Minnesota artist David Geister. Modeled after the French painting Pantheon de la Guerre, the mural is separated into three 8-foot-by-10-foot panels recognizing 100 well-known key individuals who influenced post-war America. An oil-on-canvas triptych, the mural was originally commissioned by the Minnesota Historical Society for their World War 1 America exhibit in 2017 and has since remained in the library of the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley.

World War 1 America is separated into three main influence areas: The War, the Political Front, and the Home Front. In “The War” panel, viewers see a wide array of soldiers, nurses, philanthropists, and military advisors connected to war and military efforts, including pilot Amelia Earhart, the “Martin Luther King, Jr. of Jazz” James Reese Europe, author Ernest Hemingway, entrepreneur Walt Disney, among others. The “Political Front” features individuals connected to politics and social issues such as activists Dorothy Day and Emma Goldman, past presidents Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, composer Irving Berlin, and the famous Charlie Chaplin. Lastly, on the “Home Front” are entertainers, musicians, journalists, artists, architects and activists such as Ida B. Wells, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Bessie Smith. And that is just to name a few -- 100 Americans make up the entirety of the mural.

Though created by Geister, the World War 1 America mural was a collaborative process. The featured personalities were chosen by MNHS staff, historians, and the public through a voting system offered by MNHS. Throughout the year-long process of the mural’s creation, Geister provided free, interactive viewings of his progress, where more than 200 museum visitors could directly contribute to the work by adding brush strokes to boots and landscape rocks.

The World War 1 America mural will be on display in Northrop’s atrium starting at 1:00 pm in Northrop’s Atrium. Staff will be on hand to discuss the piece. Make sure to check it out before and after the Lest We Forget concert at 4:00 pm.

Learn more about David Geister.

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