Thanks to the generosity of the Jan A. Adams and Linda Adams Family Trust, the Leatherby Libraries has received a major collection of aviation art highlighting famous aircraft and air battles of the second World War. The collection is on display in the Rinker Health Sciences Study Commons from September 16 to November 30, 2019.
The lithographs in this collection depict the European and Pacific theaters of war and come from a long tradition of military art that focuses on the beauty of aircraft in flight. The lithographs have been autographed by pilots, in some cases the very pilots whose aircraft are illustrated. Of particular note is the autograph of former President George H.W. Bush on the lithograph entitled “Low Holding over the San Jacinto,” by Robert Taylor.
Military aircraft in the Second World War were normally painted in color schemes that helped camouflage the aircraft, such as the green and brown camouflage of the British Spitfire. Aircraft were also generally marked with the national emblem of their respective nations. This additional measure was to aid in visual recognition and reduce the changes of friendly fire accidents. Examples in this exhibition include the American star and bar, the British roundel, and the German Balkenkreuz, that had been developed by the German armed forces beginning in the First World War. Some nationalities also added a tail fin flash, such as the German Luftwaffe, who added the Nazi Party’s emblem, the Hakenkreuz, as was required by German law for all military and civilian aircraft; or the red, white, and blue tri-color displayed by British aircraft, which also harkened back to the insignia worn by British aircraft during the First World War.