Colleville-Sur-Mer, June 8, 1944

Alexander P. Russo (born 1922 in New Jersey) enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1942 after studying art at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. Though he began his service as an apprentice seaman, his artistic talent was quickly recognized, and he was transferred to the US Navy Recruiting Bureau in White Plains, NY, where he worked as a Navy artist. After a year or so of illustrating naval publications, Russo sought a more exciting assignment and was tasked with making shoreline sketches of Sicily for use by the assault forces of the Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet. He then was sent with a Naval Task Force to London to serve aboard a landing craft during the D-Day Invasion, which he captured in a series of sketches and later translated to finished paintings.

After reaching shore on the following day (D-Day plus 2), Russo continued his sketches of beach activity and views of neighboring towns, including Colleville-Sur-Met and Verville-Sur-Mer, which he likely visited on June 8, 1944 (note the “D+3” inscription at the bottom left). Following the war, Russo was awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships, one of which was for his depictions of the D-Day ivasion. He continued to work as an artist and teacher in New York and the Washington, DC area until his retirement in 1990. His work is widely collected, and the Navy Art Collection contains over 84 of Russo’s World War II watercolor sketches.

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