Horace Pippin was born at West Chester, Pennsylvania and raised in Goshen, New York. He left school at 15 and took on a series of dead-end jobs before enlisting in the US Army in 1917. He sustained a serious injury to his arm while serving in France and it wasn’t until 1930 when he was able to use his arm properly in order to paint.
He drew largely from his combat experience as inspiration for his paintings and often worked with religious themes. His work was first exhibited in 1938 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The show was entitled ‘Masters of Popular Painting: Modern Primitives of Europe and America’ and featured many examples of so-called naive art. Pippin’s paintings stood out as being some of the most heart-felt in the exhibition, featuring highly dramatic combat scenes infused with the intense emotions he had experienced first hand.