In 1946, Arthur Beaumont was appointed the U.S. Navy’s Official Task Force Artist for Operation Crossroads
Mr. Beaumont was assigned to the USS Fall River (CA-131), Target Vessel Control Ship, in charge of positioning the 95 target vessels in the Bikini Lagoon for the Able and Baker tests in July 1946 at Operation Crossroads. The Fall River was a relatively new heavy cruiser commissioned in July 1945.
Beaumont observed the spectacle of the Able and Baker bomb blasts from the bridge of the Fall River. He made over 180 sketches, both in pencil and watercolor, plus 16 refined studio paintings that he created in his studio aboard the Fall River.
Click below for a virtual tour of the Operation Crossroads Beaumont exhibit at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada
The exhibit is narrated by the artist’s son, Geoffrey Beaumont.
In Bill McGee’s memoir, Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, John J. Skarzenski, Fall River Yeoman First Class, recalled:
“We had these dignitaries aboard and one of them had a stateroom on the starboard side near the exec’s cabin. Right after the Test Able explosion, here was this gentleman calmly painting the cloud as it was forming.” – John J. Skarzenski, Yeoman 1/c, USS Fall River (CA-131)
The gentleman calmly painting? Artist Arthur Beaumont.
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Excerpted from Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee.
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