Identification on verso (typewritten): 30th Annual Exhibition of Illustrators at the Harlow, McDonald Galleries sponsored by the College Art Association. James Montgomery Flagg, making a fifteen minute sketch of Wallace Morgan, President of the Society of Illustrators. Identification on verso left (handwritten): Wallace Morgan, President of the Society of Illustrators. Identification on verso right (handwritten): James Montgomery Flagg.
overall: 40 in x 28 in x in; 101.6 cm x 71.12 cm x .0508 cm
World War II
The Great Depression and World War II
World War II
World War II
Four-color print on paper.
James Montgomery Flagg, the creator of this poster, was born in New York in 1877. As a child he began to draw and sold his first picture at the age of twelve. Two years later he was contributing to Life magazine and at fifteen was on the staff of the The Judge. Flagg studied at the Art Students League in New York. When he was twenty, he spent a year working in London before moving to France. Flagg was one of America's leading illustrators. His illustrations were in Photoplay,McClure's Magazine,Collier's Weekly,Ladies' Home Journal,Cosmopolitan,Saturday Evening Post, and Harper's Weekly. During the World War I Flagg designed forty-six posters for the government. His most famous work is the Uncle Sam poster with the caption "I Want You for the U.S. Army." An adapted version of this poster was also used during the World War II. Flagg died in 1960.
Posters during World War II were designed to instill in people a positive outlook, a sense of patriotism, and confidence. They linked the war in trenches with the war at home. From a practical point, they were used to encourage all Americans to help with the war effort. The posters called on every man, woman, and child to endure the personal sacrifice and domestic adjustments to further the national agenda. They encouraged rationing, conservation, and sacrifice. In addition, the posters were used for recruitment, productivity, and motivation as well as for financing the war effort. The stark, colorful graphic designs elicited strong emotions. The posters played to the fears, frustrations, and faith in freedoms that lingered in people's minds during the war.
Famed illustrator James Montgomery Flagg was a fixture of New York's smart set, and he often sketched from life the figures he encountered. In 1914 he published The Well-Knowns, a book of his celebrity portraits, which included this image of illustrator Rose O'Neill. Despite Flagg's acerbic streak, no one could achieve softer, more sensuous effects from charcoal and pencil, and this drawing suggests his strong admiration for O'Neill. Giving a jaunty tilt to her head, he implies independence and brilliance as well as beauty. In 1909 O'Neill had become a phenomenon for her impish little cupids, called "kewpies," whose gestures she based on memories of a baby brother. They evolved into a marketing bonanza that lasted a quarter-century, generating the wildly popular kewpie dolls, as well as china, wallpaper, fabric, knickknacks, and even a Broadway musical.