The Great War (detail) Series

by Peter Keefer

These collage drawings reflect and represent my response to the actions of the political and military participants most involved in “The Great War” of 1914-1918. We all seem to be against war, but it still keeps happening; men just love to fight and I would just love to have a testosterone test for all who were involved.

I chose this war as a symbol for all wars because it was both long enough ago to be viewed purely as history but recent enough to have had a direct influence on world politics since then. It was also the first war to incorporate the individual violence of the soldier and the mechanized warfare of the 20th century.

A generation died and with it a civilization, messily, in horror, leaving an appalling legacy of guilt. Idealism was betrayed…” P. D. James

I have been working on the (detail) series since 1981. My first subject was Otto von Bismarck, the German Imperial Chancellor, who I feel was one of the primary forces behind the events leading up to the war. Although I have found the Germans to have been the most important contributors, I have included others such as Churchill (England), Marshal Oyama (Japan), the Comte de Chambord (France), Lenin (Russia) and Admiral Mahan (United States). Each had their part in the chaos that was World War I.

The collage areas are a photograph, ink on mylar, or a section of oil on canvas mounted on larger paper and drawn around with the subject’s (so-called) accomplishments in mind. The drawing is oil pastel, lithographic ink and pencil wash and is coated with gel medium and UV resistant acrylic when completed.

May we each walk in the path of beauty towards peace for all.



The Disasters Of War,” Francisco Goya, Dover Art Books, 1967

Painting In The Twentieth Century,” Werner Haftmann, Frederick A Praeger, 1966

The German Empire, 1870-1918.” Michael Sturmer, Modern Library, 2000

European History, 1870-1918,” Dr. Robert Johnson, Studymates, Ltd., 2004

Forgotten Voices of the Great War,” Max Arthur, Lyons Press, 2004

The Proud Tower,” Barbara Tuchman, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1966

The Guns Of August,” Barbara Tuchman, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1962

The Zimmermann Telegram,” Barbara Tuchman, Random House, 1994

Somme,” Lyn McDonald, Michael Joseph Ltd, 1983

To The Last Man,” Lyn Macdonald, Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1998

Europe’s Last Summer,” David Fromkin, Knopf, 2004

Testament Of Youth,” Vera Brittain, Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1933

Dreadnought, Britain, Germany, and the coming of the Great War,” Robert K Massie, Random House, 1991

Castles Of Steel, Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea,” Robert K Massie, Ballantine Books, 2003

The Last Lion, Winston Spencer Churchill, Visions of Glory, 1874-1932,” William Manchester, Little, Brown, 1983

Unknown Soldiers,” Neil Hanson, Alfred Knopf, 2006

Mud, Blood And Poppycock,” Gordon Corrigan, Cassell, 2003

A Storm In Flanders,” Winston Groom, Grove Press, New York, 2002

Bismarck And The German Empire,” Erich Eyck, W W Norton & Co, 1968

Echoes Of Eagles,” Charles Woolley, New American Library, 2004

The First World War,” John Keegan, Alfred Knopf, 1999

Yanks,” John S D Eisenhower, Simon & Schuster, 2001

The Illusion Of Victory,” Thomas Fleming, Basic Books, 2003

Eyewitness World War I,” edited by Jon E Lewis, Carroll & Graf, 2003

On The Origins Of War,” Donald Kagan, Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1995

Lawrence The Rebel,” Edward Robinson, Lincolns-Prager, 1946

Combat World War I,” edited by Don Congdon, Dell, 1964

The Great War Generals on the Western Front,” Robin Neillands, Constable & Robinson, Ltd, London 1999

Great Battles Of World War I,” Anthony Livesey, Marshall Editions, London, 1989

Revolt In The Desert,” T E Lawrence, George H Doran, 1926

Rites Of Spring,” Modris Eksteins, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1989

Leslie’s Photographic Review Of The Great War,” edited by Edgar Allen Forbes, Leslie-Judge Company, New York City, 1920

The Nations Of Europe, The Causes And Issues Of The Great War,” Charles Morris, John C Winston Co, Philadelphia, PA, 1914

The Pity Of War,” Niall Ferguson, Basic Books/Perseus, 1999

Sabotage At Black Tom,” Jules Whitcover, Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill, 1989

Over There”, Frank Freidel, Bramhall House, New York, 1964

The First World War, An Illustrated History,” A J P Taylor, Penguin Putnam, 1972

The Great War In Africa (1914-1918),” Byron Farwell, W W Norton Co, 1986

The Lady Of The Lake,” Sir Walter Scott, Houghton Mifflin Co, 1908 (1810)

The Great War And Modern Memory,” Paul Fussell, Oxford University Press, 1975

Warlord,” Carlo D’Este, Harper Collins, 2008

The First World War,” Hew Strachan, Simon & Schuster, 2003

Horses Don’t Fly,” Frederick Libby, Arcade Publishing, New York, 2000

Curse Of The Narrows,” Laura M Mac Donald, Walker & Co, New York, 2005

Men At War,” edited by Ernest Hemingway, Berkley Publishing Corp, New York, 1958 (1942)

+“Blowing Up A Train,” T E Lawrence, from “Seven Pillars Of Wisdom, 1926

+“The Odyssey Of Three Slavs,” Alden Brooks, 1917

+”Air Battle,” Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall, 1929

+“Turn About,” William Faulkner, 1934

+“Her Privates We,” Private 19022, 1930

+“The Battle Of Ypres,” Frank Richards, 1933

+”The War Years,” James Hilton, 1934

On The Frontline, True World War I Stories,” edited by C B Purdom, Constable & Robinson, Ltd, London 2009, (1997)

The Age of the Battleship: 1890 – 1922,” Brayton Harris, Franklin Watts Inc, 1965

The Millionaire’s Unit,” Marc Wortman, PublicAffairs, Perseus, 2006

Sea Power.” Edited by E B Potter & Chester W Nimitz, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1960

Lusitania,” Diana Preston, Berkley Publishing, NY, 2002

The War Lovers,” Evan Thomas, Little, Brown, NY, 2010

Echoes of Armageddon, 1914-1918,” B Cory Kilvert, Jr, Author House, 2004

Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour,” Joseph E Persico, Random House, 2004

Among The Dead Cities,” AC Grayling, Walker & Co, NY 2006

The Long Way Home”, David Laskin, Harper Luxe, 2010

Paris 1919,” Margaret Macmillan, Random House 2003

King, Kaiser, Tsar”, Catrine Clay, Walker & Co, 2006