The painting, Church at Vaux, has long been one of my most favorite paintings at the Foundation. The detail and depth of colors capture my attention. I enjoyed learning more about the history of the painting, how it came to be at the Marshall Foundation and the artist, Staff Sergeant Wallace Brodeur.
The artist was asked to make a large painting for the Chief of Staff’s office in the Pentagon, not having any background or experience in oil painting, given no other detail on what the painting was to consist of other than specific technical requirements, style and lighting. I find it so interesting the image he came up with was one of a group of soldiers from the 80th Blue Ridge Division in a church singing a traditional church hymn. To me, a place of comfort, hope and safety. It has also been noted the image was also Chief of Staff George C. Marshall’s favorite World War I photograph.