Sunday, May 6, 2012

Camouflage Artist | Harry Crisson

Above The USS Aeolus, in the process of having its dazzle camouflage applied, at the New York Navy Yard (June 1, 1918). US Naval Historical Heritage Command. NH 919.

Until today, I'd never heard of Harry Crisson, who was an artist of French descent and a native of New Orleans. After hours of online searching, I still know very little. I did find him mentioned in a news article about the 1919 Mardi Gras in Galveston TX, the only city to hold that event that year (because of World War I). The unsigned article, titled "Mardi Gras Floats Being Decorated in Hidden Lands," appeared in the Galveston Daily News (February 23, 1919, p. 8). Here is what it says about Harry Crisson—

The artist has painted Mardi Gras floats in New Orleans during the past fifteen years. When Uncle Sam went to war against Germany [in 1917], he became a camoufleur for the United States Emergency Fleet Corporation. He camouflaged ships in a district which ran all the way from the Sabine River [in Texas and Louisiana] to Key West. He received his discharge shortly after the armistice was signed.

In this connection, he holds a letter which he would not care to lose, for it comes from the Emergency Fleet Corporation commending him for his ability to camouflage war vessels.