Saturday, May 3, 2014

Camouflage Artist | W.W. Henderson

W.W. Henderson (c1918), ship camouflage
Above Colored drawing of a dazzle ship camouflage plan (c1918), signed W.W. Henderson, now in the collection of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).


At the moment, we know very little about a New England-based artist named W.W. Henderson (dates unknown), who served as an American ship camouflage artist during World War I. He is not to be confused with William Penhallow Henderson (1877-1943), who was also a ship camoufleur (in San Francisco). Information about W.W. Henderson was published in the Lewiston Evening Journal (Lewiston ME) on November 22, 1924, in an article on the School of Fine Arts of the Portland (ME) Society of Art, now known as the Maine College of Art. The portion pertaining to Henderson reads—

In the fall of 1922, W.W. Henderson accepted the position as head of the design department. This department under his guidance has become very strong. Its students receive a thorough training and are fitted to fill positions as professional or commercial illustrators.

Mr. Henderson came to Portland from Newport RI, where he had a studio. He was a pupil of Eric Pape [proprietor of the Eric Pape School of Art, Boston] and is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and also studied with Henry Hunt Clark of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

After completing his studies he was connected as a designer with one of the largest ecclesiastical houses in the country. He has also done much work in interior decorating screens for houses and stores. During the war he was in the camouflage department of the Navy because of his knowledge of color.