Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Martha Sawyers: Army Correspondent

"As this is being written, Miss Sawyers has just donned the uniform of the Army Correspondent and is off for the Far East to make pictorial records of the war for Life magazine."

- From the book, Forty Illustrators and How They Work.

"Miss Sawyer had lived and painted in Peiping until the advancing tide of Japanese aggression had all but shut off her escape to Shanghai. Indeed, the war was raging at the Marco Polo bridge two weeks before her departure."

The other day I received the generous contribution of this portrait of Gilbert Bundy, courtesy of his nephew, Jeff Holloway. Bundy was a war artist with the U.S. Army in the Pacific theatre during WWII. He experienced horrific frontline combat first hand on many of the most infamous beaches while accompanying the advancing American troops.

This piece being dated 1944, one has to wonder if Bundy and Sawyers meet by chance while they were both stationed in those embattled regions of the Far East?

* My Martha Sawyers Flickr set.


  1. Chad Sterling5:28 PM

    I find that a rather haunting portrait.Knowing Mr Bundy's later fate,I can't help thinking the whole story is there in his eyes.

  2. Martha Sawyers work is just outstanding. I can't say enough about the quality and skill this woman displayed in these examples. I find this to be a prime example that if you were qualified for the job, gender should not, and usually did not determine the assignment. I am pleased to see that these excellent women illustrators were also given the opportunity to illustrate top assignments. Thanks Leif, for putting Sawyers and other top quality illustrators back in the spotlight where they belong. I find it ironic that these woman and others were successful illustrators in their day, at a time when many refer to as being "a male oriented society". Yet today, when woman have successfully found opportunity in almost every field they pursue, we hear almost nothing about the successful woman illustrators of the past. Seems kinda upside down.

    Tom Watson

  3. Charlie Allen10:11 PM

    Good post, Leif. First, would like to know more about Gilbert Bundy. He had a marvelous, light hearted, style on the usual editorial and ad assignments that I've seen. What about his 'later fate'? I may be able to find a few old Bundy clips....I'll check. Martha Sawyers....totally agree with Tom regarding her skills and talent. I've always been amazed at the qualities and character of artists who worked under greater than normal hardships and difficult locations. The war artists a good example. I think most are true heros.