NEW ORLEANS (March 19, 2019) – The National WWII Museum today announced the opening of its newest special exhibit, In Memory of What I Cannot Say: The Art of Guy de Montlaur. A component of the Museum’s extensive commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the exhibit examines the life and work of a French fine-art painter who fought Nazis on several battlegrounds, surviving hand-to-hand combat as a member of the French army at the onset of World War II then the perils of Sword Beach with the Free French Commandos on June 6, 1944. Montlaur’s wartime service ended in November 1944 when he suffered shrapnel wounds during the amphibious invasion of the German-fortified Dutch island of Walcheren. He later passed away in 1977 at age 58.
The special exhibit will be organized in three sections. The first section introduces the viewer to Montlaur’s war experience through a number of artifacts, including articles of his clothing as well as weapons from the Museum’s collection that he would’ve wielded or encountered during the war. The second section examines the American military’s efforts to diagnose and treat combat stress during World War II. In this portion of the exhibit, a video wall will display segments of John Huston’s 1946 documentary “Let There Be Light,” a study of WWII veterans suffering from combat stress. The concluding section gathers Montlaur’s artwork, assembled from sites in France and America and arranged in chronological order around the gallery space. Informational cards exploring Montlaur’s life and work, created for children and family audiences, will be distributed to guests near the exhibit’s entrance.
In Memory of What I Cannot Say will be displayed from March 15 to October 20, 2019 in The Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery on the second level of Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. A free opening presentation will be held on March 28 at 5:00 p.m., featuring remarks from both Montlaur’s son George de Montlaur – who is making a special trip from France – and the exhibit’s curator Larry Decuers. Montlaur’s daughter Dauphine Sloan, a New Orleans resident and Senior Professor at Tulane University, will also be in attendance.
“The Museum is proud to present this special exhibit, which examines Guy de Montlaur’s journey into and beyond the war,” said Decuers. “We’re telling his epic story through interpretive text panels, profiles of men who served with him, archival photography, artifacts from his time in the service and, of course, more than two dozen of his vivid abstract paintings and sketches.”
Additionally, a robust schedule of public programming and educational initiatives, free to the public and produced in partnership with local veterans groups and arts institutions, will further explore the exhibit’s themes, including the artist’s harrowing combat experiences and his pursuit of healing his mental and physical wounds through creativity.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that future generations will know the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. The 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards ranks the Museum No. 3 in the nation and No. 8 in the world. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org.