Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sunday, I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, and the like that produced them.
Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Tom W. Freeman
Born in 1952 in Pontiac, Michigan, Tom’s family moved to the East Coast when he was 12. At age 18, Freeman joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1970 and left the military during the post-Vietnam draw down in 1977.
Although not professionally trained as an artist, Tom was skilled and had an eye for naval subjects, visiting the offices of the U.S. Naval Institute and pitching artwork that went on to grace the cover of the USNI’s journal, Proceedings (I’ve had a subscription since 9th grade NJROTC and encourage you to do the same!)
In all, he did the covers for 9 issues of Proceedings and 22 issues of Naval History magazine. He became the first artist in residence to the United States Naval Institute.
He went on to become widely accepted and painted portraits for the White House, National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Annapolis, the SECNAV’s office, the Naval Historical Command, CNET, the NROTC program, and others as well as publish extensively.
He delved extensively into Civil War maritime history, a subject that is often left uncovered.
Freeman’s magnum opus was a series of 42 paintings and a mural covering the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 for the USS Arizona Museum, who display them prominently in their collection, seen by millions.
Sadly, Mr. Freeman crossed the bar last month on June 18 at age 62. Freeman is survived by his wife Ann, five children and 13 grandchildren.
His official website, Tom Freeman Art.com is up and running and I encourage you visit it.
This month’s Proceedings has a salute to Freeman included and is repeated on their website and they note that his “Guest of the King” might well be the only American painting gracing the palace of King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain.
Thank you for your work, sir.