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Service & Sacrifice: A painter’s war series

Dozens of oil paintings capturing moments in battle were hidden away for years. They are now on private display at the home studio of a Knoxville artist.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alex Dumas said the inspiration for his entire "war series" collection comes from archive photographs showing moments of struggle, camaraderie and life in the trenches.

“ ... A fellow in a bunker eating a can of beans,” said Dumas describing one of the first paintings about a soldier’s life at war. 

The collection includes more than 80 one-of-a-kind oil works reclaimed from a museum and now on private display in his home studio.

“This is a tribute to our servicemen … what inspires me to do the next one is, I research them and find out what I want to paint next,” said Dumas who served as a stateside medic in World War II and continues to paint in his mid-nineties. “I loved to draw when I was a little kid, but I didn’t do any painting until my 27th birthday.  I received a set of oil paintings as a birthday present and I have been painting ever since."

Credit: John Becker
WWII veteran and painter Alex Dumas at work in his home studio in 2009

WBIR featured Alex Dumas and his acclaimed artwork before, which covers a range of subjects including zoo animals and landscape scenes of his beloved smoky mountains.

But for this veteran, his war series stands out.

“I feel that this group of paintings is the best representation of the three wars and the men that fought them that exist in the state of Tennessee," he said.

Anyone who would like to book a private tour of his collection can call 865-777-3745.

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