The leading American modernist Arthur B. Davies had been exploring the theme of expressive modern dance in his paintings for about a decade when he completed this work. He addressed the effects of World War I, at least symbolically, with its title, which references the mounting casualties of the war. Inspired in part by the seminal modern dancer Isadora Duncan, Davies had often composed figure compositions suggestive of sequential movement and, therefore, of elapsed time and music. Here, the more rigid dramatic postures of the figures may have been modeled on the theatrical modern choreography of Ruth St. Denis.
(Text by the Brooklyn Museum, CC BY 3.0).