Murray Dessner, Viet Nam

Murray Dessner: Viet Nam (1992) Acrylic on canvas
Viet Nam
Acrylic on canvas
Credit Line
Gift of the artist, 2011

This haunting painting from 1992 is a personal expression of sorrow and horror at the events of the Vietnam War. In grim, uncompromising tones of gray, Dessner depicts characters from well-known media photographs of the My Lai Massacre and the shootings of Kent State University students. Color enters the painting with the American flag and scenes of war.

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  • Murray was very much against our government's involvement in Viet Nam, but he always felt great sympathy for the soldiers. The angel in the upper section of the painting is from Titian's painting of his own entombment, which had always impressed Murry in Venice. The border depicts fields of poppies with its several interpretations.

    Linda Dessner