This elegant scene, originally painted by Robert Taylor, is signed in the bottom margin by five fighter pilots: Elbert Hudson, Charles McGee, Arthur Sherman, Lowell Steward, and Leon Walden. The offset color lithograph depicts a sky full of P51 Mustang fighter planes gliding above the clouds. The limited edition print is numbered 31 out of a total 800. Just below the title, a small descriptive paragraph describes the scene:
“With their distinctive red tails, P51 Mustangs of the 332nd Fighter Group - the famed Tuskegee Airmen, climb to operational height as B17 Fortresses from the 483rd Bomb Group manoeuvre into formation at the start of another long and dangerous mission over Germany, Oct 1944. A welcome sight for the Fortress crews, the renowned all-black Tuskegee pilots were credited for never losing an escorted bomber to enemy aircraft.”
Known as the Red Tails, the Tuskegee Airmen were a highly impactful African American military bomber and fighter pilot group in WWII. The Red Tails were made up of the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. Occasionally referred to as the “Red Tailed Angels,” these men received over 150 Flying Crosses throughout WWII. Some escorted bombers were lost to the enemy throughout the war despite the popular legend that they never lost any at all, however, the Red Tails had a much higher escort success rate than many other squadrons of the time. Their success and fame encouraged the eventual desegregation of the armed forces and had a lasting impact on the future of U.S. military pilots.
Robert Taylor is the most widely collected aviation artist. Taylor spent much of his life in Bath, England working as a fine art restorer. He was regarded as one of the most talented restorers in the West of England and worked often on many “old masters.” Taylor was 32 before he became a full time painter for The Military Gallery. The impact of his early restoration career and the old master painters can easily be seen in his popular, dramatic, and inspiring aviation works. In his aviation paintings, the artist conveys the technical details of the machines while still portraying a romantic scene. The planes retain realistic detail with scuffed paint, scratches, and dirt while still glorifying their deeds. Wonderfully pairing studies of the paintings with the signatures of the pilots at the event, Taylor provides an in-depth study of how his paintings were created and the process of combining art, history, and authentic details.
Overall very good condition. The print has not tears, loss, or discoloration. The colors are still vibrant and all six signatures are clear and dark. The work has been attractively framed according to archival standards.