"White Truck, Alongside G.I. Joe...All The Way-"   Lot no. 997

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By Harvey Dunn 1884-1952

1944 (Estimated)
34.00" x 38.00"
Oil on Canvas
Signed and Dated Lower Left

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Original oil painting commissioned by White Motor Company, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. used in color print advertising


SOLD to South Dakota Art Museum


The WWI Pictorial Publicity Division of the Committee on Public Relations (headed by Charles Dana Gibson) accepted eight volunteers, including Dunn. He produced more than 700 pictures of WWI. Dunn roamed front lines, depicting war as it actually was. He used a scroll drawing pad; played harmonica. Most of his war paintings are now in the Smithsonian. Dunn envisioned years of painting a pictorial record of the war for the government; it was a big heartbreak when he returned to the U. S. in 1919 and was discharged the same year. He loved being in the military. Dunn then devoted more time to teaching. He taught a philosophy of life more than art. In the mid to late 20's he returned to South Dakota. He came back almost every summer for quarter century after that. Dunn wandered around in work clothes and a slouch hat; he stopped to chat and tell stories; he worked on threshing crews, he sketched but seldom painted. But.....he always kept his commercial accounts and established a relationship with White Truck in 1941. At that time he was also working for Maxwell House Coffee, Coke, Texaco and John Hancock Insurance. Interestingly...during this time, he still always liked to involve wartime and soldier imagery... This painting is another example that incorporates soldiers into the theme of the advertising work. Although this is a typical, simple transport truck....Dunn included the marching soldiers at the closest edge. His commercial art continued - Maxwell House Coffee, Coke, White Trucks, Texaco, Sinclair, John Hancock Insurance - but he devoted more and more time to pictures of frontier life in South Dakota.

Explore related art collections: Military/Soldiers / Automotive/Transport / 1940s / Advertisements / Brandywine School / $20,000 - $50,000

See all original artwork by Harvey Dunn


   Harvey Dunn was a large, powerful man who paid for his art schooling by “sod-busting”, plowing under the thick, virgin, prairie grass for his home-steading neighbors of the Red Stone Valley of South Dakota.

   From the Art Institute of Chicago, he was invited by Howard Pyle to study at Chadds Ford. Of all Pyle’s students, Dunn was most deeply imbued with his philosophy, and as a teacher passed it along together with his own ideas, his straight-forward honesty and intolerance of pretense. Among his students were Dean Cornwell, Harold Von Schmidt, Amos Sewell, Lee Gustavson, Mario Cooper, Saul Tepper, and numerous others.

   Dunn’s pictures, like the man, were forceful, yet combined great sensitivity with brilliant use of color. During World War I, Dunn was commissioned a Captain as an official war artist with the A.E.F. His experiences under fire produced many striking documentary drawings and paintings, now part of the archives of the Smithsonian Institution.

   From notes taken during one of his classroom criticisms, the following fittingly describes his credo:

   “Art is a universal language, and it is so because it is the expression of the feelings of man. Any man can look at a true work of art and feel kin to it and with him who made it – for he has the same number of heartbeats a minute, comes into the world to face the same joys, sorrows, and anticipations, the same hopes and fears. A vastly different vision may arise in the consciousness at the mention of a word, but our feelings are the same. By this you may know that the Brotherhood of Man is.”*

*quoted from An Evening in the Classroom, 1934