Intelligence Art Collection
Les Marguerites Fleuriront ce Soir
by Jeffrey W. Bass, Oil on Canvas, 2006. Donated by Richard J. Guggenhime. The painting portrays Virginia Hall in the early morning hours, radioing London from an old barn near Le Chambon sur Ligon to request supplies and personnel. Power for her radio was provided by a discarded bicycle rigged to turn an electric generator, the clever invention of one of her captains, Edmund Lebrat. Coded messages such as “Les marguerites fleuriront ce soir” (the daisies will bloom at night) apprised Hall of what airdrops to expect from London and when. After D-Day, a Jedburgh team joined her, and together they trained resistance forces to wage guerrilla warfare. OSS Director William Donovan awarded Hall the Distinguished Service Cross—the only one given to a civilian woman during that war. Hall later worked for the CIA, serving in many jobs as one of CIA’s first female operations officers.
- Earthquake’s Final Flight
by Jeffrey W. Bass, Oil on Canvas, 2006. Donated by the Fairchild Corporation. This painting commemorates air operations of Civil Air Transport, an Agency proprietary, and its CIA contract pilots in support of French forces at Dien Bien Phu, Indochina, in 1954, during the final days of the conflict between the French and Viet Minh. In Fairchild C-119s with US Air Force markings hurriedly painted over with French Air Force roundels, 37 CAT pilots volunteered to fly supplies from the French airbase at Haiphong to the battlefield near the border with Laos.
- Seven Days in the Arctic
by Keith Woodcock, Oil on Canvas, 2007. Donated by Gar and Audrey Thorsrud. The painting’s unveiling at CIA headquarters on 21 April 2008 and the ceremony honoring COLDFEET participants brought team members together for the first time in 46 years. Many of the family members who joined them had never been to CIA Headquarters, let alone heard of the contributions their relatives had made in an extraordinarily challenging Cold War mission.
by Dru Blair, Mixed Media on Illustration Board, 2007. Donated by Daniel K. Hilton. Unveiled with the presentation of an A-12 OXCART on static display at CIA’s Headquarters during its 60th anniversary in September 2007, Untouchable depicts the first operational flight of the A-12 on 31 May 1967. Piloted by Mele Vojvodich, the aircraft “Article 131” took off from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa during a torrential downpour just before 1100 local time that day. The A-12 had never operated in heavy rain before, but the weather over the target area was forecast to be satisfactory. Vojvodich crossed the coast of North Vietnam one hour and 14 minutes later, flying at a speed of Mach 3.1 at an altitude of 80,000 feet.
An Air Combat First
by Keith Woodcock, Oil on Canvas, 2007. Donated by Marius Burke and Boyd D. Mesecher. On 27 July 2007, CIA officially received An Air Combat First in an event attended by members of the Air America Board; pilot Ted Moore; Sawang Reed, the wife of flight mechanic Glenn Woods; CIA paramilitary legend Bill Lair; and the donors of the painting, former Air America officers Marius Burke and Boyd D. Mesecher.
The Day the Wall Came Down
by Veryl Goodnight, Bronze, 2004. Donated by Sarah and John Lindahl, Jr. Veryl Goodnight watched raptly with the rest of the world as the Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989. That night, she says, in a dream, her plan for a sculpture of five horses racing across a prairie was transformed into a sculpture depicting the spirited animals leaping to freedom over the Berlin Wall’s ruins. Today, two monumental (1¼ life-size) installations of her sculpture exist. One is at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. The other, donated to the German people, is in Berlin. In 2004, US patrons of the arts, Sarah and John Lindahl, Jr., commissioned a one-quarter life-size version for presentation to the CIA. In explaining their reasons, John Lindahl recalled reading DCI George Tenet’s farewell remarks in July 2004, in which he said, “I am convinced that if the American people were fully aware of what you do—around the clock and around the world—they would line up at that front gate in huge, record numbers, come in here, and say thank you.”
Cast of a Few, Courage of a Nation
by James Dietz, Oil on Canvas, 2008. Donated by Alan Seigrist and Christopher Exline. Cast of a Few, Courage of a Nation was unveiled on 17 April 2008 to commemorate these early operations and the later combined efforts of US intelligence and military forces, Afghan allies, and coalition partners in Afghanistan. The painting depicts a CIA-owned, Soviet-built Mi-17 helicopter conducting a night resupply mission of food, equipment, operational funds, and ammunition to a team in Afghanistan. The scene, repeated hundreds of times in Afghanistan, conveys a sense of the perils and physical difficulty faced by small groups of paramilitary officers working in the hostile environment. The work resonated strongly for the veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom who were present at the unveiling. They all said Dietz’s painting has masterfully captured their own personal moments in the experience.