Friday, July 20, 2007

World War I Recruitment Posters

I was reading an article in the New York Times about the hidden truths in photos and came across this haunting photo of a World War I recruitment poster:
At first I didn't know what I was looking at, but the caption that accompanied the photo said:
“ENLIST” was a WWI Recruitment poster designed by Fred Spears. Spears’ design was inspired by a news report from Cork, Ireland, that described, among the recovered bodies from the Lusitania, “a mother with a three-month-old child clasped tightly in her arms. Her face wears a half smile. Her baby’s head rests against her breast. No one has tried to separate them.”
RMS Lusitania was a British luxury ocean liner owned by the Cunard Steamship Line Shipping Company. Christened and launched on Thursday, June 7, 1906, Lusitania met a tragic end as a casualty of the first World War when she was torpedoed by the German submarine, U-20, on May 7, 1915. The great ship sank in just 18 minutes, eight miles (15km) off of the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard. The sinking turned sentiments against Germany. (Wikipedia)

Impressed by the imagination and beauty of the poster I went looking for additional recruitment posters. Here are some of the more artistic that I found:

That Liberty Shall Not Perish From The Earth
Joseph Pennell (1857-1926), U.S.A.

If Ye Break Faith- We Shall Not Sleep
Frank Lucien Nicolet (1887-?), Canada

(World War I -US) Red Cross Christmas Roll Call December 16th to 23d. Where Columbia sets her name let every one of you follow her. Signed in the plate K. H. Blashfield lower center. Mounted on linen. Very nice condition. Approx. 18.75"w x 28"h. (FF2) (Stock number 003WWI-0503P) $150.00 SOLD

This last poster comes from the-forum online-gallery which sells the posters. These posters were also called Propaganda posters.

So what is this we are looking at?
Beauty out of horror and violence.


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