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War-themed art at Delaware Art Museum

"This Is War!" is a knockout of a show at the Delaware Art Museum, drawn from the museum's rich holdings of related material.

"This Is War!" is a knockout of a show at the Delaware Art Museum, drawn from the museum's rich holdings of related material.

Featured are 40 war-theme posters and original artworks about World Wars I and II, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War in an exhibit capturing the potential of warfare as a subject.

Howard Pyle's images of the American Revolution, painted at the turn of the 20th century, inspired many artists of that era to paint military subjects and scenes from military history.

Of course, even before Pyle, with the expansion of the popular press, reporters and illustrators gave firsthand accounts of events at the Civil War battlefronts, among them Winslow Homer. Homer is strongly represented here by two wood engravings depicting sharpshooters, a military specialty he once described as being "near murder."

While the images of those 18th- and 19th-century conflicts dominate by the intricacy of the particular battles and episodes they set forth, such as John Rogers' plaster sculptures about the Civil War and its Reconstruction aftermath, it would be unfair to say they steal the show.

After all, this museum's largest collection of wartime illustration dates from World War I (shortly after this institution's 1912 founding), when Pyle's students were actively producing fact and fiction in their images of all types, including propaganda posters.

The most famous American poster of that era is James Montgomery Flagg's still compelling Uncle Sam, declaring "I Want You for U.S. Army." Both the art and the slogan were later adapted for World War II use.

Another nationality that does rather well here is the French, with direct and personal poster images that invite reflection about nature and forces of destruction so evident during the devastation of World War I, when these were made.

World War II produced more posters promoting war bonds and food rationing and urging workers to be more productive, just what we expect in a show of this kind. What's striking about the whole display is the vigor of so much of the work in it.

Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington. To Aug. 10. Tue-Sat 10-4, Sun noon-4. Adults $10. Free on Sundays. 302-571-9500.

Travis Gallery.

Frank Arcuri of Erwinna, a still-life painter whose works usually seem enveloped in darkness, seems to be lightening up a bit in his show at Travis in Solebury.

For Arcuri, showing 20 oil still lifes in the 17th-century Dutch tradition, has tended to accentuate the darkness covering fruit, vegetables, gleaming metal or clay pitchers, and other objects in his adroit, well-crafted tabletop still lifes.

Now that he's begun lightening up his backgrounds, early results are quite promising, especially in his finest painting,



Travis Gallery, 6089 Lower York Rd (Rt 202), Solebury Twp. To June 7. Tue-Sat 10-5. Free. 215-794-3903.

MossRehab/Elkins Park.

"All About Art," hundreds of works in all media by 68 artists with disabilities, 30 of them new to the show, are featured at MossRehab.

The pleasure of this latest yearly show is enhanced by making a circuit through many corridors and discovering mini-solos by artists from California to Florida and Israel to Malvern.

Notable works include the etching

Francesco Clemente

by Michael Jameson of Santa Barbara, color etchings of the female figure by Suzanne Olmsted of Oakland, Calif., paintings by John Sears of Yardley, and collages by Sriharsha Sukla of India.

MossRehab, 60 Township Line Rd, Elkins Park. To June 15. Daily 10-8. Free. 1-800-CALL-MOSS.