Now the RISD Fleet Library has an exhibition and lecture series on the WWI camouflage.
“Razzle dazzle” was a form of camouflage used by the US and UK during WWI. Its intent was to cause miscalculation in estimation of the ship’s speed and direction. The visual rangefinders of the time were easily fooled by the contrasting and overlapping geometric patterns. The markings of such camouflage have since then made their way into different forms of artistic expression. Now I’m not sure that artists pulled from ‘razzle dazzle’ as a form of precedent, but the similarity is striking. Here is a beautiful image of such camouflage patterns. Unfortunately, there were no color images of these war ships.