The journey was no mean feat.
More than 20 feet long in its original frame, Gassed arrived encased in a huge, sturdy wood crate, "Fragile" stamped on the side.
Gassed is like none of these.
It depicts a line of badly injured soldiers in the wake of a mustard gas attack, bandages over their eyes, the blinded leading the blinded, along a board laid out near a field hospital.
This is a frieze for the house of the near-dead.
How did a bourgeois painter like Sargent end up creating such a painting, lending it an almost allegorical tone?
Judith Thomas, director of exhibitions, said that Sargent was asked by Prime Minister David Lloyd George to create an epic painting on the subject of Anglo-American cooperation.
The United States had entered the war in 1917. (Next year marks the centenary commemorated by this exhibition, curated by former PAFA curator Robert Cozzolino, independent curator Anne Knutson, and David Lubin, professor of art at Wake Forest University.)
Sargent was at first reluctant to accept the commission, Thomas said, but finally agreed, traveling to France in 1918. At first, he complained that it was virtually impossible to find an epic scene on such a subject.
For one thing, there were few soldiers on the battlefield in the daytime.
"How can one do an epic without masses of men?" Sargent wondered in a letter. "Excepting at night I have only seen three fine subjects with masses of men - one a harrowing sight, a field full of gassed and blindfolded men."
Sargent found his subject in the harrowing. He received permission to proceed, and in 1919, produced the extraordinary canvas that arrived at PAFA Friday."It's a huge painting," said PAFA's Thomas, depicting "the hell of remembrance."
Sargent was 63 when he completed the work.
On Friday, after wheeling the crated painting on a pair of dollies into a gallery in Hamilton Hall, a team of eight art handlers dismantled the crate, carefully removed taped plastic covering, lifted the canvas out of its massive traveling nest, gently placed it on the floor, and then tipped it up and forward.
Within 50 minutes Gassed was set within its original frame and had been placed on the wall, its image of stumbling, sickened soldiers dominating the room.
Over the shoulders of the bandaged and stricken men, other soldiers play soccer in an open field; it is a routine afternoon as the sun sets, casting all in a warm glow.
"It's visually harrowing," Thomas said.