Woman and Soldier, 1940–1951<img alt="" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/Storrs-Woman-and-Soldier.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Woman and Soldier, 1940–1951<div class="ExternalClassF7CF79FB29EB46DB96F5CE31DBCCAD17"><p>​A somber-faced woman supports a man's limply sagging body in John Storrs' <em>Woman and Soldier</em>. Notwithstanding the sculpture's diminutive proportions, its powerful lines and stylized forms tangibly express the woman's determined strength and the impotence and vulnerability of her unconscious burden. The work suggests a pietà, the traditional image of Mary holding the nearly nude body of the crucified Christ. Here, the woman is draped in a blue cloak like that worn by Mary in Christian tradition. <em>Woman and Soldier </em>pointedly addresses the human cost of war by invoking Christian themes of suffering, charity, and endurance through faith. Married to a French woman, Storrs lived through World War I as a resident of France, and thereafter war became a theme of his work. During World War II, he was twice imprisoned by the Germans in concentration camps, an experience that profoundly affected him both psychologically and physically. </p><p>Storrs made small painted terra-cotta sculptures as early as the late 1910s. He modeled and cast <em>Woman and Soldie</em>r in 1940, creating three known copies subsequently differentiated by their surface treatment. In 1951, he finished this particular version by applying gouache (an opaque, water-based paint), highlighting the woman's form but leaving the soldier untouched. By that date, the ailing artist had taken up less physically demanding techniques, including the practice of painting terra-cotta sculptures created years earlier.</p><p>Storrs was a Chicago native who spent much of his career in France, with frequent return visits to his hometown. An innovative modernist who created figural as well as abstract works in various sculpture, painting, and printmaking mediums, he was inspired by the abstract art of contemporaries and by so-called primitive art. The son of an architect, Storrs was also influenced by Chicago's modern architecture, particularly the streamlined aesthetic of its Art Deco structures. Storrs collaborated with many architects: in Chicago his best-known work is <em>Ceres</em>, a modern interpretation of the goddess of grains, which crowns the 1928 Chicago Board of Trade Building.</p></div>GP0|#dcc19857-e460-4c19-9e72-5604e5a87404;L0|#0dcc19857-e460-4c19-9e72-5604e5a87404|John Storrs;GTSet|#6a9f5109-021d-478a-ae73-864102492159;GPP|#9d68cbd3-25f3-49f0-8924-6cbe6cdb2f21;GPP|#be65f490-4890-487c-bb16-c396d99511f7Art;#TemporaryPainting;#Painting Terra-cotta;#Chicago, IllinoisTerra-cotta with applied gouache paint, 7½ × 47⁄8 × 17⁄8 inches