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

World War II Navy Art: A Vision of History

William Franklin Draper (b. 1912)

Lieutenant Commander, USNR

Born in Hopedale, Massachusetts, Draper attended the National Academy of Design and the Cope Art School in Massachusetts and also studied in France and Spain. Commissioned early in 1942, he created a series of paintings during his coverage of the Aleutians, Bougainville and the Marianas campaigns, many of which later appeared in color reproductions in the National Geographic Magazine. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his meritorious work as a combat artist in the Aleutians and under enemy attack in the South Pacific.

After returning to civilian life, William F. Draper earned an international reputation as a portraitist. His subjects have included John F. Kennedy (1962), the Shah of Iran (1967), James Michener (1979) and Richard M. Nixon (1981), as well as numerous other political, social, and corporate leaders. His work is included in the collections of a number of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

 

A Warrior Homeward Bound
William F. Draper #103
Oil on canvas, March 1944
33 3/4h" x 28 3/4w"
88-189-DR

 

 

This wounded Marine, a casualty of the assault wave on the beaches of Guam, is tenderly hoisted by his comrades from an LVT to an LST where he will receive the best of care from Navy doctors.

 

Boxing Match
William F. Draper #104
Oil on canvas, November 1944
40 1/4h" x 46w"
88-189-DS

 

On the way to Saipan, the ship's company of the USS Tennessee gathers to watch a boxing match between two enlisted men.

 

Inferno
William F. Draper #105
Oil on canvas, October 29, 1944
34 1/4h" x 44 1/4w"
88-189-DT

 

In the village of Charou Kanan, Saipan, the sugar mill became an inferno on D-Day. As the flames leap to the sky, Marines stealthily creep forward. Enemy mortar fire falls over the beachhead causing many casualties to the men and supplies.

 

Waiting
William F. Draper #109
Oil on board, December 1944
25h" x 30w"
88-189-DX

 

Aboard a transport bound for Guam, Marines make themselves at home. They use their shelter-halfs as canopies to ward off the tropical sun and now try and relax with card games.

 

Hangar Deck of Carrier (Palau Strike Series)
William F. Draper #113
Oil on canvas, March 1944
34h" x 44w"
88-189-EB

 

 

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22 February 2001