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William S. Phillips - PLOESTI: INTO THE FIRE AND FURY -  LIMITED EDITION PRINT Published by the Greenwich Workshop

by William S. Phillips

Original Retail Price $195.00
May Not Reflect Current Price

Limited Edition of: 850
Image Size: 28"w x 18 5/8"h.
Published: September 1992

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Adolf Hitler was obsessed with the war economy in general and liquid fuel in

particular. The petroleum wells and refineries at Ploesti, Rumania, which

supplied approximately one third of all the Nazis' fuel oil, therefore became more than just a military target. A raid on Ploesti became a way to strike at Hitler himself.

"On the first day of August, 1943, then-Colonel Leon Johnson's aircraft, a B-24D, of the 67th bomb squadron, 44th bomb group, flew over target Ploesti, code-named 'Tidal Wave,'" says aviation artist William S. Phillips. "For his action that day, Colonel Johnson received the Medal of Honor."

In all, 179 B-24 Liberators of the American 9th Air Force took off that day on "Operation Soapsuds" to pound the Ploesti installations. The results were promising but the price was high. The Americans lost fifty-three aircraft in the attack but the door was then open for subsequent bombings which yielded higher dividends. Within six months, the amount of oil that Germany was taking from Rumania was cut by eighty percent.

"What interested me from an art standpoint was that they went in low-level," says Phillips. "This raid took place right on the ground. It's the kind of thing that lends itself well to the kind of work I do. The sun is high in the blue sky and Johnson's B-24D is coming right at you." Phillips' appreciation of Johnson's accomplishment is shown in this limited edition fine art print, made from the original that was signed by Johnson himself.

Original painting signed by General Leon Johnson.

William S. Phillips
Phillips grew up loving art but never thought he could make it his livelihood. At college he majored in criminology and had been accepted into law school when four of his paintings were sold at an airport restaurant. That was all the incentive he needed to begin his work as a fine art painter. Bill Phillips is now a renowned aviation artist and the landscape artist of choice for many collectors. Bill's strengths as a landscape painter, a respect and reverence for a time and place, help him when painting aviation as well as classic landscapes. Phillips often spends days observing landscape subjects. Finding companionship with the land, he is able to convey the boundlessness of nature on the painted canvas inspiring a reverence for the natural landscape in its beholders. After one of his paintings was presented to King Hussein of Jordan, Phillips was commissioned by the Royal Jordanian Air Force. He developed sixteen major paintings, many of which now hang in the Royal Jordanian Air Force Museum in Amman. The Smithsonian Institutionís National Air and Space Museum presented a one-man show of Phillipsí work in 1986. He is one of only a few artists to have been so honored. In 1988, Phillips was chosen to be a U.S. Navy combat artist. For his outstanding work, the artist was awarded the Navyís Meritorious Public Service Award and the Air Force Sergeants Associationís Americanism Medal. At the prestigious annual fund raiser for the National Park Service, Billís work has been included in the Top 100 each year he has entered the competition and his work has won the Art History Award twice. Phillips was selected as the Fall 2004 Artist in Residence at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and tapped by the U.S. Postal Service to paint the stamp illustrations and header design for a pane of twenty stamps in 1997 entitled Classic American Aircraft. He was chosen again in 2005 for a pane of twenty stamps (ten designs) entitled American Advances in Aviation. Billís major collection of aviation art, Into the Sunlit Splendor, was published by The Greenwich Workshop Press in 2005.


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