OCTOBER 2, 1944
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Friday morning in New York City I visited two studios to see portraits of my husband. The first portrait, done by J. W. De R. Quistgaard, seemed to me very interesting. It had been painted entirely from photographs, but the artist explained to me that he had not tried to do a factual likeness; rather, he had tried to give the impression of the man as he thought of him. On the whole, the likeness was excellent, though the President's face is more heavily lined today.
The other artist, Andre Durenceau, is a mural painter, but his portrait was a very small one. Also done from photographs, it was not quite so good a likeness, though a very interesting painting.
In the afternoon I went up to the Jules Laurents Studios at 2291 Broadway, to see an exhibition of war paintings done by men in the army, and lent by the War Department to the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department plans to send this exhibition to moving picture theatres all over the country so that we Americans may see what the artists in our armed forces have seen and recorded. These paintings are a record of history—history which our boys are still making day by day. These paintings will help future generations to know what war is like. I think they will also mean a great deal to our own generation, since we at home need all the help we can get to understand what war is really like.
In this collection of paintings and drawings, I think the painting which meant the most to me was that of a soldier sleeping, done by Sergeant Albert Gold in England between May, 1943 and February, 1944. The utter weariness of the figure, the boy's face in repose so sensitive, all drive home to you that there are many hardships in war besides the periods of actual battle.
I was, of course, particularly interested in the watercolors by Sergeant Olin Dows. They were done in England too, and I especially liked "Crossing the Stream by Rope Bridge," which was done in the early period, and some done in the second period between March and June, 1944. You may remember having read that Sergeant Dows not only paints, but brought in 50 prisoners single-handed not long ago in France. He is 40 years old, and is one of our neighbors here in the country. His murals in the post offices in Hyde Park and Rhinebeck are of historical interest, and add enormously to the charm of the small stone buildings where we collect our mail.
I came back to the country Friday night, and am sorry that I must leave here this afternoon.