Many soldiers returned from WWI with severe injuries. Faces were particularly vulnerable during trench warfare, and many soldiers were terribly disfigured. Their injuries prompted diverse responses. Surgeons worked to restore obliterated faces, while artists like Anna Coleman Ladd made facial prostheses to help soldiers with mutilated faces rejoin society. Pacifists used the otherness of the severely disfigured to shock the public, modern artists embraced the mask aesthetic, and entrepreneurs capitalized on a cult of physical beauty that arose in reaction to wartime ugliness.
Support for Dr. Lubin’s lecture has generously been provided by the University Lectures Committee, Film Studies, Art and Art History, Women and Gender Studies, American Studies, and the Friends of the University Art Gallery.