The collection recently acquired two drawings by George Biddle, and Edward Laning, both of whom served as official artists with the American forces in Europe during World War Two. George Biddle (1885-1973) first saw action in North Africa and later in Sicily and Italy where he made this ink drawing (26 x 34 cm.) at Statigliano on October 19, 1943. Biddle was initially in charge of the War Department Art Advisory Committee (WDAAC) in 1943 and headed the war art team that covered the aftermath of Operation Torch in North Africa. Some of his sketches including this one were published in George Biddle’s War Drawings (New York: Hyperion, 1944).
The caption accompanying the reproduction of this drawing read: “There are no braver soldiers than the stretcher-bearers from the Medical Corps. They do not carry weapons but face danger nonetheless. Their service is needed in those areas over which Death has spread its shadow.”
Edward Laning (1906-1981) was originally part of the 1943 War Art Program assigned to Alaska, but was contracted by LIFE magazine after the suspension of the program in the summer of 1943, and covered part of the campaign in Italy, receiving a wound near Minturno. This wash drawing on paper (28 x 39 cm.) depicts citizens of Florence getting water from a temporary water-pump installed on the Piazzale degli Uffizi, on August 17, 1944. The verso bears the stamp “Pass for Publication. Field Press Censor.”
Several of Laning’s pictures of Florence, Lovorno, and Anzio were published in LIFE on September 17, 1945.