Marshall in 30 Objects Staff Pick: Object #16 Church at Vaux Painting

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.

Gen. Marshall and the artist Wallace Brodeur at the Pentagon, May 21, 1945. GCMF Photo Collection.

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.

Interior of church with troops of the 317th and 319th Ambulance Companies and 305th Sanitary Train; Vaux, Ardennes, France, Nov. 5, 1918. Army Signal Corps Photo.

Check out the Marshall in 30 Objects gallery guide to see what you like!