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World War II Triptychs:

Triptych 146

Christ in the Carpenter's Shop; Building Jerusalem; Servicemen Building Bridges, 1944

Commissioned by: Citizens Committee for the Army and NavyMedium: oil on wood with gilded gessoExecuted by: Hildreth MeièreRelocated to: Virginia War Museum

Triptych 146, Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop; Building Jerusalem; Servicemen Building Bridges. Photograph in Citizens Committee for the Army, Navy, and Air Force Records, 1940-1945. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Triptych 146, Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop; Building Jerusalem; Servicemen Building Bridges. Photograph in Citizens Committee for the Army, Navy, and Air Force Records, 1940-1945. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Hildreth Meière painted this triptych depicting Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop, Building Jerusalem; and Servicemen Building Bridges for the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions (Seabees). Her inscription refers to Nehemiah 4: 20-21: OUR GOD SHALL FIGHT FOR US. SO WE LABORED IN THE WORK. The biblical figures constructing the walls of Jerusalem on the left wing relate to the contemporary bridge-builders and servicemen shown at worship on the right wing.1

Originally donated by the Study Clubs of IBM, this triptych was sent to the Naval Construction Center in Davisville, Rhode Island, where it remained from 1944-46, and was later given to the Virginia War Museum.

A copy of this popular triptych can be seen in a tent in the Pacific that had been temporarily converted into a chapel:

Copy of Meière’s Triptych 146, Christ in the Carpenter

Copy of Meière’s Triptych 146, Christ in the Carpenter's Shop; Building Jerusalem; Servicemen Building Bridges, in a temporary chapel in the Pacific during WW II

1

See Catherine Coleman Brawer, Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière (St. Bonaventure New York: St. Bonaventure University, 2009): 80 and Brawer and Kathleen Murphy Skolnik, The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière (New York: Andrea Monfried Editions, 2014): 205.

Commission Location

Emblem

Virginia War Museum
9285 Warwick Blvd
Newport News, VA 23607

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