‘Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool’ By Edward Wadsworth [National Gallery of Canada] Source: Wikipedia.
My original interest in this topic stems from the paintings of Edward Wadsworth. The concept of ‘Dazzle painting’ was invented by the artist Norman Wilkinson in 1917 as a way ‘of using stripes and disrupted lines to confuse the enemy about the speed and dimensions of a ship.’ According to Wikipedia:
All British patterns were different, first tested on small wooden models viewed through a periscope in a studio. Most of the model designs were painted by women from London's Royal Academy of Arts. A foreman then scaled up their designs for the real thing. Painters, however, were not alone in the project. Creative people including sculptors, artists, and set designers designed camouflage.The Vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth supervised the camouflage of over two thousand warships, and his post-war canvases celebrated his dazzling ships.
Wikipedia also claims that ‘Dazzle attracted the notice of artists, with Picasso notably claiming that cubists had invented it.’
One of the British Dazzle design. Source: Razzle Dazzle
One from a recently rediscovered set of 455 plans for ‘dazzle’ camouflage for US merchant ships in World War 1, first exhibited in 2009 at the Rhode Island School of Design in the US. Browse a big selection of them here: http://dazzle.risd.edu/
If you’re interested in exploring further, check out the fantastic BEDAZZLED blog. Its a great source.