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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Paintings From the Abbott Collection; Naval Aviation

Adolf Dehn

Born in Minnesota in 1895, Dehn studied at the Minneapolis Art School and Art Students League of New York. Awarded the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1939, he traveled throughout the United States and Mexico. Among his awards were Honorable Mention at the Philadelphia Alliance and First Print Prize from the Philadelphia Alliance. For seven successive years, his graphic works have been included in Fifty Prints of the Year. Represented in permanent collections of Metropolitan, Whitney, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and British Museums, Addison Gallery, Honolulu Academy, Oslo National Museum, British Museum, London.

 

Into the Rigging
Adolf Dehn #12
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
32h" x 28w"
88-159-CI

 

Blimp maintenance crews need a lot of the same agility aloft required of sailing men in the days of the windjammers. To scan the outer surface of a blimp envelope for rents or rips is a high job on lines or portable extension ladders. Navy crews periodically go over the big airships from engine to gas cells in a hunt for signs of stress or wear. Note the size of fins and rudder at the trail of the blimp.

 

The Convoy Brood
Adolf Dehn #11
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
30 1/4h" x 38 1/4w"
88-159-CH

Like maternal hens, Navy blimps hover over a sea-borne convoy, alert to any danger on the horizon or beneath the surface. Airships are capable of speeds of 60 knots or more, yet can ride indefinitely over danger spots. Their cargo of depth bombs makes them a deadly danger to the submarine. As convoy escorts, the lighter-than-air branch of the Navy has played its part in reopening coastal shipping lanes.

 

Landing Lines Trailing
Adolf Dehn #2
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
32 1/4h" x 28 1/4w"
88-159-BY

 

A Navy blimp comes carefully in for a landing. Long training and expert ground supervision provide quick, exact handling of the lines in bringing the big non-rigid airships earthward. The skipper will keep his engines turning over, however, until he is fast to make sure he has a reserve of power for quick maneuvering in case of emergency.

 

Home Berth
Adolf Dehn #6
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
30 1/4h" x 38 1/4w"
88-159-CC

Looming big and awkward on the ground, a Navy airship is walked toward the portable mooring mast where a crewman waits to make it fast to the mooring swivel. Once brought snug against the mast, the blimp is able to revolve in a full 360 degree circle, or be towed into the hangar to its berth beside other non-rigids.

 

By the Light of the Moon
Adolf Dehn #4
Watercolor; 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
30 1/4h" x 38 1/4w"
88-159-CA

A Navy airship rests immobile at its mooring mast, engines idle, as its crews walks forward in a floodlight's illumination. Engines soon will turn over, and it will be released to take to moonlit skies on a night mission. Meanwhile the ground crew, hands in pockets against the sharp night air, idle alertly in position until they are called to the handling lines.

 

Free Ballooning
Adolf Dehn #9
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
30 1/4h" x38 1/4W"
88-159-CF

The balloon was the first means by which man was able to ascend into the air. It is still going strong, for a knowledge of free ballooning is part of the stock-in-trade of the Navy lighter-than-air officer. A requisite to operation of the powered non-rigid airship is an understanding of the operation of a free balloon in air currents and in descent and ascent. Many an airship officer has successfully free-ballooned his craft to safety in emergency or without engine power. Here, at a lighter-than-air base, balloons ascend among the circling non-rigid Navy blimps.

 

 

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21 April 2006