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The Ghost Army

World War II's Artists of Deception

"Artists of Deception" Art exhibit opens April 13 at the Hopper House in Nyack NY

Ghost Army WWII Hopper House Nyack
Imagine a group of GI’s who help win World War II with inflatable tanks, sound effects, and impersonation. Now imagine many are artists, who never stop painting and sketching as they make their way across war-torn Europe.  And some go on to become famous, including fashion designer Bill Blass. That’s the TRUE story of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, aka The Ghost Army. Now a landmark art exhibit opening April 13 at the Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, New York, brings together work from more than 15 members of this unique unit, many of whom went on to have illustrious post-war art careers.

The exhibit, entitled Artists of Deception, is the largest collection of Ghost Army art brought together since World War II.  Among the items being exhibited are Bill Blass’s wartime notebooks. On the cover of one can be seen the logo Blass sketched for what would become his fashion empire. The exhibit also includes striking watercolors from famed wildlife artist Arthur Singer. Two of the artists—Bill Sayles, and Ned Harris, are from Rockland County, New York, where the exhibit is taking place.  The rest are from around the country.

“We were sleeping in hedgerows and foxholes. But nothing kept us away from going someplace to do a watercolor.”
-Ghost Army artist John Jarvie, Kearny NJ

The exhibit includes landscapes, portraits, caricatures, cartoons, and rough sketches, done in oil, watercolor, pencil and pen and ink.  All bring to life the period from June  1944 to May 1945, when The Ghost Army was in action in Europe.

The exhibit is co-curated by filmmaker and author Rick Beyer, from Lexington, MA, and illustrator Elizabeth Sayles, from Valley Cottage, NY. The two are co-authors of the book Artists of Deception: The Ghost Army of WWII.

There will be an opening reception for “Artists of Deception: The Ghost Army,” on Saturday, April 13 – 5-7p at the Edward Hopper House Art Center, 82 North Broadway, Nyack NY.  The exhibit runs until June 9.  Information on gallery hours and admission prices at More on the unit itself, and the PBS film chronicling it’s role in WWII, at .

Artists whose work is being displayed:

Walter Arnett*
Bill Blass*
Moredcai Reese Craig*
Victor Dowd*
Ned Harris
John Jarvie
Harold Laynor*
Jack Masey
Richard Morton*
Bill Sayles
Alvin Shaw*
Arthur Shilstone
Arthur Singer*
Joe Spence*
Bob Tompkins*
George Vander Sluis*
Anthony Young*


The exhibit is made possible by generous contributions from 60 donors.

Lisa Aaron
Patricia Amann
Christine Hardy Ayers
Lee Baldwin
Foster Bass
Holden Becker
Marilyn Rea Beyer
Jill Rovitzky Black
Elisabeth Born
Theodore Bouloukos
Holly Caster
Jill Clancy
Dylan Craig
Claudia Boders Fenderson
Marsha Baker and Harry Forsdick
Janet Freeman
Kirk Friedland
Bob Gaffney
Bennett Gewirtz
Bob Gill
Kathy Greenholdt
Jennifer Hanlon
Charles Heilbronn
Peter Hirshberg
Christine Hughes
Stephanie June
Lauren Patricia Kennedy
Richard Klug
Anne Lee
Frankie Lieberman
David Macpherson
Michael Mark
Henry Mason
Susan McHugh
Delah McKay
Barbara Moran
Jay Newell
Beverly Payeff
Carole Perry
Jessica Poggioli
Anne Pollack
Luther Rix
Carol Sawyer
Allan Seward
Kara Sheridan
C. Bowes Sheridan
Alan Singer
Mary F. Spence
Joseph Spence
Marcia D Stearns
Deborah Stein
Peter Threadgill
Sam Waymon and William Tucker
Michael Vosburgh
Jeff Walker
Sterling Wall
Garrett Zevgetis