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Museum honors veterans with World War II paintings

The Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, unveiled 55 never before displayed World War II paintings, in a new exhibit titled, “Painting World War II: The California Style Watercolor Artists,” April 17.

The exhibit examines a unique Southern California chapter of the larger contribution made by American artists, across the nation, who were called upon by their country to document with motion film, photography and art.

“The paintings are important historic documents, and in fact, national treasures,” said Glen O. Knowles, art professor, Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, Calif., and curator for the exhibit. “This is a show of beautiful and interesting watercolor paintings that uniquely illustrate many aspects of World War II.”

The exhibit drew the attention of many local art fans and artists.

“I’m fascinated with history and art,” said Daniel F. Martinez, a professional freelance artist. “Being the son of a former Marine really gave me an appreciation for what service members did for our country, and this exhibit does a good job in revealing their sacrifices. World War II changed life for all of us,” he added.

The display has all original paintings, which are only a few of the color images captured during World War II, and some were used for National Geographic magazine in 1942, said Knowles. The vast majority of the artwork from this era is held by the Pentagon Art Collection, the Smithsonian and the Navy Art Collection of Washington D.C.

“This exhibit has art created by some of the finest watercolor painters in the state, or the entire United States for that matter,” said Knowles. “Watercolor is one of the most challenging artistic medium that is famous for expressing the creator’s state of mind.

For additional information about the “Painting World War II” exhibit and future events, call the Oceanside Museum of Art at (760) 435-3720. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sun. from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free for military members and their families.

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