It’s one of the greatest assemblages of art in America, yet most of us have never seen it. It’s the U.S. Army’s art collection, and it resides mostly in storage, comprised of thousands of pieces of art. The Army’s art program officially began in World War I, when eight artists were commissioned as captains in the Corps of Engineers, then sent to Europe to record the activities of the American Expeditionary Forces there.
Opportunities to view the art, however, occur at museums around the country; The National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir won’t be completed until 2015. Luckily, Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center is running “Art of the American Soldier” now through Jan. 11. The exhibit contains 250 works from the collection and is curated thematically.