WWII Artist Alva Alegre Update: New Alegre Painting Emerges From the Woodwork

The elusive artist and photographer, Alva V. Alegre, is still making waves here at PortraitsofWar.   Two recent visitors to the site have been able to shed some light on his work. I’m posting the first here for followers of Alva’s work to see before I set into the newly acquired info regarding his background.

The following shot was sent to me by an art collector on the East Coast who luckily had the painting conserved and removed from a foam core backing after finding the work in a Virginia antique shop. The style is quintessential Alegre and incorporates the scantily clad and thin wasted figure so often depicted in his WWII work.


Newly Discovered Alegre Artwork

Newly Discovered Alegre Artwork


Alva Alegre at Work in England, 1944

Alva Alegre at Work in England, 1944



Alegre’s work has fascinated me for nearly six years, and I’ve spend countless hours searching for other examples of his work, as well as for tidbits that may lead to information related to his life.   For those of you who haven’t seen my posts on Alva, please check out the links below:











If you have an Alegre painting in your collection, please come forward with a photograph.  His work has been coming out of the woodwork in the past six years, and the story of his life is quickly unraveling.  A special thanks to Scott for his generous photograph of his prized Alegre work of art.



WWII 388th Bomb Group Portrait Artist – Alva V. Alegre – ORIGINAL Portrait Surfaces on eBay!

Ever since I first laid eyes upon the WWII portrait art of Alva V. Alegre, I knew that I had to track down an original piece of his work.  I tracked down his original photographic prints, his negatives, and even have spoken with people knew him.  I’ve followed him from his first arrival in the US in the 1930s, through England during WWII, to NYC in the 1950s and eventually to Troy, NY in the 1960s.  After years of waiting, I providentially stumbled across one of his portraits on eBay.  It’s all coming together…….
With the help of a group of dedicated historians with the 388th Bomb Group, we’ve (possibly) identified the Major as Frank Hess.

For more photos and images of Alva’s work, please search for “Alva” in my search bar.

Frank Hess











How do we know this is a piece of Alva’s work?  For disbelievers, check out this comparison of signatures from my negative collection and the signature on the recently acquired painting.  100%!