William Foley (artist)

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William Foley
William A. Foley Jr.

1926 (age 92–93)
Known forDrawing, painting
Notable work
94th Mural

William Foley Jr. (born 1926) is a painter and sketch artist whose work focuses on the events of World War II. At the age of eighteen, Foley was involved in the war effort in the 94th Infantry Division as a soldier, and completed several works during his service that would later form the basis for his career and reputation as an artist.


During World War II, Foley was a rifleman in the 94th Infantry Division “Ghost Corps” under General George Patton, whose campaign was focused on getting past the Siegfried Line, and also participated in the Battle of the Bulge.[1] As an eighteen-year-old, Foley began drawing sketches of events on the battlefield in a sketchbook he carried with him. These sketches were preserved in part because they were able to be stashed in a cardboard tube that previously held a mortar shell.[2] Later, he also drew some war scenes from memory.[3] Foley went on to work commercially as an illustrator. He now resides in Dallas, Texas and is retired.[1]

Major works[edit]

Some of Foley's work has been featured at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey, National World War II Museum, and the Pritzker Military Library.[2][4] The exhibit at the latter contains over 40 of his works, including pencil and ink sketches as well as oil paintings.[5] In 2003, Foley finished 94th Mural to honor the 94th Infantry Division, which is displayed at the Massachusetts State House in Boston.[1]

Foley's memoir Visions from a Foxhole: A Rifleman in Patton's Ghost Corps was published in 2007. It includes several accounts from wartime, focusing on the actions and accounts on the battlefield rather than the larger context of the war. He notes that victories on the battlefield were not a cause for celebration, and expresses his understanding of soldiers who deserted their posts, given the difficulties of war. Foley's account of the war has been described as "one of the most outstanding memoirs in recent memory",[6] in particular his descriptions of Germany, which are compared to landscapes as described by Dante Alighieri.[7]

Published works[edit]

  • Visions from a Foxhole: A Rifleman in Patton's Ghost Corps Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 2013. ISBN 0-307-41765-4OCLC 869464995


  1. ^ a b c "William Foley". Pritzker Military Library. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  2. ^ a b "Dallas Artist Discusses Sketches Captured On A Battlefield " CBS Dallas / Fort Worth". Dfw.cbslocal.com. 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  3. ^ "William A. Foley, Jr.: Digital Collection: Veterans History Project (Library of Congress)". Lcweb2.loc.gov. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  4. ^ "Department of Military & Veterans Affairs host art exhibit". NJ Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  5. ^ Nusser, Madeline (13 January 2010). "Visions from a Foxhole". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  6. ^ McManus, James C. (October 2007). "Patton's Pawns: The 94th US Infantry Division at the Siegfried Line (review)". The Journal of Military History. 71 (4): 1293. doi:10.1353/jmh.2007.0309 (inactive 2019-08-20).
  7. ^ Hymel, Kevin (May 2004). "Reviews: A Legacy of Service and Sacrifice" (PDF). Army Magazine: 79. Retrieved 19 October 2013.

External links[edit]