Olin Dows (1904-1981)

Work from the European Theater, World War II Photographs, Drawings and Watercolors

September 8 – 30, 2013


View Olin Dows' In Depth Biography + Additional Body of Work:




Kathleen White, Chip Holman

Olin Dows: World War II: the European Theater
At William Holman Gallery

September 8 – September 30, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, September 12th from 6.00 to 8: PM

NEW YORK, August 16, 2013 - William Holman Gallery is pleased to open our second season with an exhibition of the World War II Watercolors, Drawings and Photographs of Olin Dows, Technical Sergeant 1st Cl., a decorated veteran who served in the European Theater of Operations from 1942 until the end of World War II in 1945. This very personal archive from the artist’s estate reveals an emotive journey in images from deployment, through training in England, D–Day and then Dows’ agonizing march from Normandy to Torgau, Germany on the Elbe River, 70 miles from Berlin.
This exhibition includes over 60 watercolors and drawings which recorded army life both in and out of battle - from basic training exercises at Fort Meade, Maryland to refugees carrying their belongings through devastated cities and towns immediately following Allied liberation. These works are supplemented by Dows’ remarkable collection of photographs, taken in battles and in camps across Europe. The exhibition is excerpted from Dows’ impressive archive, which includes more than 800 photographs, drawings and watercolors, as well as his personal journals, correspondences and sketches relating together one man’s experience of the War. The archive also includes many works returned to Dows by the Department of the Army after the end of the war, and is complemented by the Dows’ works that remain in the Archives of the Army, as well as the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY.

The journey across Europe was epic for Dows, who carried a rifle and a camera as well as his watercolors and charcoals. Dows’ proceeding work included raw drawings and watercolors which were used by the Army for domestic information and exhibition in the US, while his photographs and terrain sketches were employed on the battlefield for reconnaissance.

The WWII work follows Dows’ induction into the US Army at Ft. Meade, Maryland, and his training in the west of England in 1943-44 then moves through the 270 days of fighting beginning with the “Battle of the Hedgerows” at St. Lô in Normandy, through the liberation of Paris and the brutal winter at Bastogne in Belgium and ending through Metz and the Ruhr Valley in Germany. Dows documented the 35th Infantry Division after D-Day and was with them from June to September 1944. In late August 1944, we have photographs of Dows in the studio of Pablo Picasso in Paris at the Liberation. Three months later he was assigned to 101st Airborne and spent the winter recording the “Battle of the Bulge” at Bastogne. On the drive across France to the Elbe in March-April, 1945, we know Dows was present at the liberation Buchenwald in early April, 1945 from which no work, except two photographs, has survived in this collection. Dows was present at the culminating union of American and Soviet Forces at Torgau on the Elbe River on April 25, 1945 and recorded this historic meeting in several watercolors, as well as many photographs.

Decorated with a Bronze Star for bravery, Dows was instrumental in the surrender of a large group of German Regular Army soldiers without an engagement using his very good German to talk them into laying down their arms.

Dows was discharged from the Army in August 1945.

Olin Dows, World War II: The European Theater is on view from September 8 – 30, 2013.
A catalog of the exhibition is available for $25.00.

For more information on the gallery’s exhibition schedule, images, and a catalogue to the exhibition please visit http://www.wholmangallery.com/exhibitions/.






Olin Dows Catalogue