When retired baseball star Curt Schilling and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Tim Gray approached renowned portrait artist Brian Fox about painting a portrait of World War II hero Richard Winters he jumped at the opportunity.
“I was honored and humbled that Curt and Tim asked me to paint Major Winters,” said Fox. “It was important for me to capture the emotion of the moment, and the Major’s fearlessness, leadership and bravery.”
Major Winters is remembered for his courageousness during the invasion of Normandy when he led an undermanned Easy Company south of the village of Le Grand-Chemin during the Brecourt Manor Assault on June 6, 1944. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of small-unit tactics and leadership in defeating a larger enemy force in the history of modern warfare. His heroism was immortalized in the 2001 HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.
Recently Schilling and Gray launched The Major Richard Winters Leadership Project, which is a campaign to raise money for a monument in Normandy and a film that will focus on Major Winters’ leadership of men in combat during WWII. Schilling knew Fox through his work with Major League Baseball, as well as his artistic contributions to other charities. He passed up lucrative opportunities to insure that he could dedicate over 200 hours to the project.
“I decided to skip painting portraits for the MLB All-Sar game this year; I wanted this opportunity. I felt it was going to be a special project and I offered it up for the charity. It took me most of the summer to complete.”
The 36×56 oil painting was unveiled on November 12 during an event hosted by Schilling and Gray at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence. The event featured original members of the Easy Company (including Al Mampre, Babe Heffron, and Ed Tipper) and a few of the actors who played them in Band of Brothers.
“The Major Richard Winters Leadership project is without a doubt one of the most inspirational efforts to immortalize the Men of Easy Company, true American heroes” said Fox. “I feel truly fortunate to be a part of it.”
In addition to being auctioned off the painting will also serve as the cover artwork for the new documentary film produced by Gray about Major Winters’ life. Actor Damian Lewis, who portrayed Major Winters in Band of Brothers, has signed a limited amount of special edition giclées, which will be released to galleries worldwide.