Raising money was a central challenge for all combatants in the World Wars, which were exhausting struggles of attrition. Bond drives became essential, and bond posters rapidly became the most common poster category of both wars.
This stirring image by famed illustrator N.C. Wyeth used loaded cultural symbols to stir emotions, from the billowing American flag to a determined Uncle Sam pointing the way to victory. Behind Uncle Sam is a never-ending phalanx of advancing B17s and infantrymen, formations that suggest a unity of purpose and collective strength. Author Jeffrey Schnapp coined this technique “The March” and it is seen in many of the best modern political posters.
This is the very rare and breathtaking large 40 x 60 inch format.
If you are in Boston this summer, check out the Grand Circle Gallery, an exhibition space featuring a spectacular selection of African travel posters from International Poster Gallery’s collection.
Tracking the development of the African tourist poster since the 1890s, Travels through Africa is on display through Labor Day. The Gallery is free and open to the public, and is located in Fort Point Channel at 347 Congress St.
The American Dream is aptly evoked in this uplifting poster by Charles Chambers. Printed in several languages to appeal to recent immigrants, the poster shows newcomers on a ship deck in New York Harbor, with the Statue of Liberty beneath a red, white and blue rainbow. Framing the scene is the New York skyline, glowing in the morning sun.
The poster was prophetic in its appeal: food would be a decisive factor in winning the war for the Allies. America produced half of the world’s corn and a quarter of its wheat in 1917, and Herbert Hoover, the head of the U.S. Food Administration, recognized that only America could overcome the severe food shortages in Europe. Hoover, an ardent free marketer, refused to resort to centralized policing and rationing, which was the norm in every other country. With an army of 750,000 volunteers and only 8,000 paid staff, the Food Administration was totally successful in its mission to feed the Allies.
This poster asked Americans to conserve wheat, the most critical food item. Several posters were devoted to substituting corn, barley and vegetables.
This design by famed German posterist Lucien Bernhard uses the power of Teutonic symbols to create one of the most visceral posters of World War I. The mailed fist of a German knight comprises the entire illustration – malevolent, depersonalized and full of anger. The rawness of the traditional Gothic text perfectly matches the emotional tenor of the fist above it.
Created towards the end of the war, this poster reflects not only the iron-willed resolve to fight to the finish but also conveys the national frustration with the endless deadlock of trench warfare — and a desire for peace.
View more World War I posters here.
World War I was the first conflict in which the illustrated color lithographic poster was available, and combatants struggled to make this instrument of mass persuasion effective. Enlistment was one of the key early areas of experimentation, and recruiting yield was carefully monitored.
Howard Chandler Christy’s famous recruiting posters took the approach of appealing to male pride, as seen in this sexy poster classic. It was so effective it would be reused in WWII– although the role of women would generally be portrayed less stereotypically in the later war, focusing on women’s roles in factories, relief efforts, and the armed forces.
See a variety of recruiting posters in our current gallery exhibition: Paper Wars.
International Poster Gallery proudly presents Paper Wars, an evocative exhibition of original propaganda posters of the First and Second World Wars. On display in the gallery through June 15, the exhibition features some of the most persuasive and galvanizing posters from two of the most significant military conflicts in world history. From enticing recruitment posters to pleas for the civilian purchase of war bonds, these posters were a driving force of patriotism and propaganda in their respective homelands.
Read more about the exhibit on our Paper Wars exhibition page, and stay tuned for exhibition highlights.
The gallery is thrilled to have acquired a major collection of counterculture rock posters from the late Sixties and early Seventies. The “Summer of Love” in 1967 ushered in a brief but spectacular poster craze centered around San Francisco, recalling the floral excesses of Art Nouveau, the pulsating after-images of Op-Art, and the bizarre juxtapositions of Surrealism. In style, it was the exact opposite of the rational and legible Swiss Style that took hold in the corporate communication around the globe at the same time.
Our acquisition features a nearly complete set of Fillmore West posters, where many of the great concerts of the era were staged by rock impresario Bill Graham (Grateful Dead, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Doors, Janis Joplin, etc).
In addition, there is a fine selection of Family Dog posters from the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, as well as most of the posters from Victor Moscoso’s kaleidoscopic “Neon Rose“ series for the Marty Balin’s Matrix club.
Most of these are shockingly affordable and nearly all are in mint condition. Some of them are hand signed by the artist.
VIEW ALL OF OUR ROCK POSTERS HERE!
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The contrast in these propaganda posters from WWII could not be more stark. Some of the most vitriolic racist posters of the war were created in Italy by the Fascist government to stiffen Italian resistance as the Allies began their invasion. Boccasile’s shocking poster showed a Black GI as a gorilla hawking a priceless Italian treasure, the Venus de Milo, for $2.
The American poster is one of the few in the war that shows a Black man, and the only one we can recall to feature an integrated workforce. It would not be til 1948 that President Truman would officially integrate the armed services, but this 1942 poster portrayed a societal shift that was slowly in the making.
MoMA’s Architecture and Design Wing in New York City recently opened “Seeing Red: Hungarian Revolutionary Posters, 1919″, a mini-exhibition of rare avant-garde posters from the short-lived Hungarian Revolution of 1919. Well represented are the powerful work of Mihaly Biro, Sandor Bortynik and Bertalan Por. Hungarian patriots and devoted Socialists, all three were forced to leave their country after the Hungarian Revolution failed. Hungary’s loss was Modernism’s gain as all became active in Modernist developments elsewhere in Europe.