Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Case of the Missing Doughboy Portrait

Where Have You Seen This Painting?

Corporal Jack Marqusee, Headquarters Troop, 27th Division

Roads to the Great War has been contacted by the family of the Doughboy portrayed above, Corporal Jack Marqusee, who served with the headquarters detachment of the 27th New York National Guard Division. The image is a from a family-held photo of the original painting.  The story that has been passed on over the generations is that Jack's portrait was painted by none other than James Montgomery Flagg and is now hanging in a museum somewhere, possibly in Europe.

We are not art experts at Roads, so we consulted some we know. They have reservations that it is Flagg's work.  Some think it is more like the war paintings of John Singer Sargent, who had some contact with the 27th Division.

In any case, we are trying to help Jack's family locate his portrait.  If you have seen it, or have any clues or ideas about its location, please send a message to:

By the way, Jack distinguished himself as one of the division's 53 recipient's of the British Military Medal. (The 27th Division was assigned to the British Fourth Army during their service in France.)


During the operations east of Ronssoy, September 29th-30th and October 1st, while serving as a mounted messenger, Corporal Marqusee carried messages between divisional and brigade headquarters under a heavy shell and machine-gun fire and through a valley which had been heavily gassed. He also assisted in rounding up stragglers and returning them to their proper commands under heavy shell and machine-gun fire.



    Please see the above from the US tobacco journal it is tantalizing incomplete. An artist of "international fame" for the "official war archives of the British Government". The tile is apparently "The Yank".

  2. I was related to Jack as my paternal grandmother was his sister (Belle Marqusee). Although we were generations apart I knew Jack quite well and have much information to provide about his wartime experiences and a very colorful business and social life in the years continuing to the 1960's. If anyone is interested in hearing all of this, please call me at (914) 241 - 0741 between the hours of 10:00Am and 4:00PM (eastern time - in the New York vicinity).

    Roger Froehlich Belle Marqusee was married to Monroe Froehlich, Sr. I rememeber this photo very well, as it was on my grandmother's piano in the 1940's - '50's. I believe the original painting was done to commemorate one member of each of the military branches serving in WWI and Jack was selected to represent the typical Army soldier. I believe he was an aide to General "Blackjack" Pershing.

  3. Add: I believe the original painting hangs in either the Louvre or in the French Military Museum.