William L. Clements Library

Past Exhibit

Exhibit at the Great Hall of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

One Man's War: The World War II Sketches of Jack Keenan

On exhibit: February 28–May 6, 2005

Meet the Artist Reception, April 27, 4:00-6:00 pm.

Drafted out of art school in 1941, John "Jack" Keenan used his talents for typing, sign painting and bugle playing to rise to Master Sergeant in the Seventh Armored Division, Third Army, under General George C. Patton. Keenan recorded his military career in a series of outstanding sketches in watercolor, pencil, and ink. The actual sketches done during the conquest of Nazi Germany are now on display at the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. Keenan worked with sharp eyes, wit, and a quick and gifted hand. The events, conditions, and personalities of the war are vividly alive and beautifully expressed throughout the exhibit. Camp life, military equipment, casualties, relationships between captives and captors, civilians and soldiers are all part of the experience shared in these works. Keenan's career included basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, special training in the Mohave Desert, pre-invasion staging in England, landing at Omaha Beach in France, crossing into Belgium, participation in the Battle of the Bulge, liberation of German prisoner of war and concentration camps and finally returning to the United States. The Keenan exhibit includes 64 sketches representing a portion of the Keenan collection that was a gift of the artist to the Clements in 2004.