Violet Oakley (1874–1961) was the first American woman to find fame in the burgeoning field of public mural painting. Throughout her 60-year artistic career she also devoted herself to the quest for a just and peaceful world. During World War II, the elderly Oakley continued that mission by joining with the Citizens Committee of the Army & Navy to produce portable altarpieces for use on American battleships, military bases, and airfields around the world. The first of her 25 wartime alterpieces was The Angel of Victory, 1941, completed just two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The wood panel triptyph is on view now at the Delaware Art Museum until May 25, 2014. It is being shown with Oakley’s preliminary sketches for the project, for the first time. This exhibition was curated by the Museum’s 2013 Alfred Appel, Jr. Curatorial Fellow Jeffrey Richmond Moll. Moll is a Ph.D. student in Art History at the University of Delaware, specializing in 19th- and early 20th-century American art. Click here to learn more about fellowships at the Delaware Art Museum.