1945 · [South Pacific?]
This is a collection of six stunning scenes with little provenance. We acquired them from a picker in Michigan who purchased them from a dealer at a flea market. Three of the watercolors show Marines fighting on beaches in the South Pacific, one shows a group waist-deep in water slogging through the jungle and one is a peaceful beach scene showing men landing on shore in a raft. The pencil drawing is very different: it's a graphic cartoon of a marine, one hand with a knife, the other shooting a machine gun, surrounded by Japanese soldiers getting slaughtered while a plane overhead is on its way to crashing. It's the only one captioned on its verso, "Marine Regular 'Master Sgt. McGoik.'" While the caption could read "McGolk," we've located a reference to a little known song making the rounds during World War II entitled "Goity McGoik," which may refer to someone who killed indiscriminately.
Figuring out the service member would be easier if "Beute" was definitely the artist's name. It's very uncommon in the United States as a search of the National Archives' nine million records for WWII members of the Army has only three Beutes. Searching marine corps records is a bit more difficult and we have not invested that time as the name could simply represent "Beauty,": on all six pieces the artist underlined "Beu" and "e", while leaving the "t" without an underline. Beu+t+e= Beauty.
An engaging group of art worthy of further research.
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