Artist: Bryan Moon
Title: The Doolittle Raiders
Year created: 1991
Medium: Multi-Signed Lithograph on Paper, with WWII Airplane Fragment
Edition: Rare Signed, Numbered Artist's Proof, 15/90; Signed by the Artist, Commander James “Jimmy” Doolittle, and 3 Others, with Fragment of a Doolittle Raiders Bomber Plane which crashed in China on April 18, 1942
Height (inches): 28-1/4
Width (inches): 32
Signed by the artist & 4 Others
Signed Area: front
This piece is framed.
Description of piece:
This rare signed and numbered Artist’s Proof by artist and MIA hunter Bryan Moon commemorates the 50th anniversary of the historic 1942 World War II Doolittle Raid, America's first retaliation against Japan after Pearl Harbor. The idea for the attack originated with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was planned and led by Jimmy Doolittle, a famous military test pilot and aeronautical engineer.
Titled “The Doolittle Raiders by Bryan Moon”, top margin. Signed by artist Bryan Moon (in pencil, lower right margin; and signed & dated in the plate, lower left image area). Edition number “Artist’s Proof 15/90”, lower left margin, in pencil.
The artwork also bears four additional signatures, three from surviving members of the lead bomber of the historic Doolittle Raid— Pilot of the lead bomber, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle (after whom the Raid was named); Co-Pilot Lt. Richard E. Cole; and Navigator Lt. Henry A. Potter. Respectively, the ranks of these three Officers, at the time of signing were General USAF (Ret.); Lieutenant Colonel USAF (Ret.); and Colonel USAF (Ret.).
The fourth additional signature is that of the Chairman of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association, Co-Pilot of B-25 Aircraft No. 13, Richard A. Knobloch, who at the time of signing held the rank of Brigadier General USAF (Ret.).
Only a very limited number of the signed prints included a fragment of one of the original Doolittle Raiders B-25 airplanes, attached to the artwork beneath the caption “A section from a Doolittle Raiders B-25 bomber which crashed in China April 18, 1942”. The fragment bears the stamping “DR7”.
The artwork depicts one of the low-flying B-25 bomber planes used by American pilots during the air raid over Tokyo and Honshu. The Raiders flew at low altitudes close to the sea to avoid detection. The aircraft is dramatically shown hovering over a dark ocean, ready to attack Japan. The large commemorative circle centered within the lower margin of the artwork bears the in-the-plate signatures of 44 surviving members of the Doolittle Raiders.
Measuring 28-1/4” in height x 32" width in its original gold framing with original double layers of matting in linen and taupe, the artwork is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. The reverse side of the framed piece has been freshly backed, using archival materials.
The DOOLITTLE RAID, also known as the Tokyo Raid, was an air raid on 18 April 1942 by the United States on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on Honshu during World War II. It was the first air operation to strike the Japanese archipelago. It demonstrated that the Japanese mainland was vulnerable to American air attacks, served as retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, and provided an important boost to American morale. The raid was planned by, led by, and named after Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle (later a Lieutenant General in the US Army Air Forces and the US Air Force Reserve).
Under the final plan, 16 B-25B Mitchell medium bombers, each with a crew of five, were launched from the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet, in the Pacific Ocean, off Japan. There was to be no fighter escort. After bombing military or industrial targets in Japan, the B-25 crews were to continue westward to land in China.
Of the 16 USAAF crews involved, 14 complete crews of five returned to the United States or to US forces elsewhere, except for one who was killed in action. Eight aviators were captured by Japanese forces in Eastern China and three of these were later executed. All but one of the B-25s were destroyed in crashes, while the 16th landed at Vladivostok, in the Soviet Union. Because the Soviet Union was not officially at war with Japan, it was required, under international law, to intern the bomber's crew for the duration of the war, and their B-25 was confiscated. However, within a year, the crew had been secretly allowed to exit the Soviet Union, under the guise of an escape, and returned to the United States, or US units elsewhere, by way of Allied-occupied Iran and North Africa.
Doolittle initially believed that the loss of all his aircraft would lead to his court-martial, but he instead received the Medal of Honor, and was promoted two ranks to Brigadier General.
Bryan Moon (1928-2015) was both artist and MIA (Missing in Action) hunter, having led 34 missions to find lost World War II U.S. airmen in locations around the globe, including at crash sites in China and Papua New Guinea.
The last image in those posted for this auction item shows Mr. Moon seated at home next to his artwork depicting one of the Doolittle Raiders B-25 bombers which crashed in China on April 18th, 1942— titled “The Doolittle Raiders by Bryan Moon”— the same artwork presented in this auction.
Asked in an interview why he had such a passion for finding those missing in action, Mr. Moon responded: “From World War II alone, there are 68,000 MIAs out there. Does anyone need any other reason?”
Bryan Moon and his team collected items from four of the 16 Mitchell bombers taking part in the Doolittle Raid, and a fragment of a found bomber is incorporated into the artwork.
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