|at the Marlene & Nathan Addlestone Library of the College of Charleston|
World War II Propaganda Posters
Biographies on some artists.
George Ade (1866-1944)
"I have been reading him again, and my admiration overflows all limits. How effortless the limning! It is as if the work did itself, without help of the master's hand." Mark Twain on Ade
Born in Kentland, Indiana, George Ade was the second youngest of seven children raised by John and Adaline (Bush) Ade. Lacking enthusiasm for manual labor, especially farming, the young Ade could usually be found with his nose buried in a book. An 1887 graduate of Purdue University, where he met and started a lifelong friendship with Hoosier cartoonist John T. McCutcheon, Ade worked as a reporter for the Lafayette Call and also wrote testimonials for a patent medicine company's tobacco-habit cure.
In 1890 Ade joined McCutcheon on the staff of the Chicago Morning News, which later became the Chicago Record. After proving his worth as a reporter, Ade was put in charge of the column, "Stories of the Streets and of the Town," which McCutcheon illustrated. Ade captured the hustle and bustle of Chicago through such vivid characters as Artie, a young office boy; Doc Horne, a gentlemanly liar; and Pink Marsh, a black shoeshine boy. His column also introduced the work that would make him famous: fables.
Often referred to as "The Aesop of Indiana," Ade's humorous fables, which first appeared in book form in 1899's Fables in Slang, were an immediate hit with the public. These "modern fables" were syndicated nationally and even produced as movies. William Allen White, a Kansas newspaper editor, said of the book, "I would rather have written Fables in Slang than be President." Ade also tasted success as a playwright, producing such Broadway smashes as The Sultan of Sulu, a comic opera about America's activities in the Philippines; Peggy from Paris, a musical comedy; and The College Widow, a comedy about college life and football set on Crawfordsville, Indiana's Wabash College campus.
While Ade was busy traveling and writing, back home in Indiana his brother, William, bought on his behalf acres of farmland in Newton County. On wooded land near the town of Brook, Ade built an impressive English Manor/Tudor-style home which he named Hazelden Farm. Ade's home soon became known as the amusement center for the United States, hosting a campaign stop in 1908 by William Howard Taft, a rally for Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party in 1912, and a homecoming for soldiers and sailors in 1919. Of his many parties and active social life, Ade once said, "I am a bachelor but I prefer to live in my own home. My enthusiasms include golf, travel, horse-racing, and the spoken drama. My antipathies are social show-offs, bigots on religion, fanatics on total abstinence, and all persons who take themselves seriously. I love to put on big parties or celebrations and see a throng of people having a good time."
Financially secure through his writings, Ade turned to other amusements later in life, traveling frequently throughout the world and contributing to his two favorite charities--Sigma Chi fraternity and Purdue University. Along with fellow Purdue alumnus David Ross, Ade offered financial support to enable the university to build a new football stadium, which the college name Ross-Ade Stadium in their honor. After many months of illness, Ade died on May 23, 1944 in Brook.
Harry Anderson (1906-1996)
Shortly after the birth of their second child, the Andersons joined the Mormon church. This commitment led Harry to end his cash-rich connection with beer advertisers, but it opened up a whole new horizon for his talents. When the art director at the Review and Herald Publishing Association, T.K. Martin, learned that Anderson had become an Adventist and wanted to serve his church, he extended a job offer. Martin had been collecting clippings of Anderson's work. Martin was particularly impressed with the artist's mastery of light and shadow. Anderson's use of light sources always provided strong, striking visual effects and high drama. His first illustration for the Review and Herald, What Happened to Your Hand?, stirred up some controversy when it depicted Christ in traditional dress with children in modern dress.
It was in association with the Review that Anderson produced the bulk of his religious paintings, numbering around 300. The Review and Herald could pay Anderson only a fraction of what he earned through his corporate clients. To add to his income, every month or six weeks Anderson painted a picture for a national magazine. These jobs were essential to his livelihood, for as a freelance artist, he never received a regular wage or accrued the benefits that went to other church employees.
In 1951, the Andersons moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where they lived for the next 45 years. Highlights of Harry's career during this time are several illustrations he completed for the Mormon church. Many of these paintings are prominently featured in the Visitors' Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. A five-foot by-twelve-foot mural from this collection was exhibited during the 1964-65 World's Fair.
Anderson's distinctive style and exceptional talent won him many awards and recognition around the world. The American Watercolor Society gave him several awards, as did the Art Directors Club of New York and the National Academy of Design. In 1994, he was honored with membership in the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame for distinguished achievement in the art of illustration.
Anderson was widely regarded to be the foremost illustrator of religious subjects, especially the life of Christ. Adventists around the world have been influenced by Anderson's work, which appeared in the Bible Story Books and "picture rolls." A quiet and unassuming man, Anderson once said: "This is one way I feel I can witness. I have no talent for writing, nor do I have a talent for speaking, but I feel I paint well enough by now to express my feelings graphically. I sincerely hope that someone, if it be only one, will be drawn close to the Master as a result of my work."
McClelland Barclay (1891-1943)
From the time he married in 1930 onward, he produced numerous sculptures often festooned with animals. These were then manufactured out of metal in a wide varity of utilitarian and decorative household objects, such as bowls, boxes, trays, pins, bookends and wall hangings by the McClelland Barclay Art Company.
Before the war, Barclay was most noted for his ability to paint strikingly beautiful women, boldly colored and outlined, best exemplified by his series for General Motors illustrating the slogan, "Body by Fisher," and on numerous magazine covers, such as The Saturday Evening Post, and Pictorial Review.
Barclay was appointed a Lieutenant Commander, United States Naval Reserve, during World War II and contributed many posters, illustrations and officer portraits for the Navy before being reported missing in action, in the Pacific theater, aboard an L.S.T. which was torpedoed.
In 1944 Barclay was awarded the Art Directors Club Medal posthumously, "in recognition of his long and distinguished record in editorial illustration and advertising art and in honor of his devotion and meritorious service to his country as a commissioned officer of the United States Navy."
Howard Chandler Christy (1872-1952)
In 1898 the Maine was sunk in Havana harbor. Christy felt the urge to contribute his efforts during the Spanish-American War. Because of the great demand for black-and-white artists, Christy secured commissions from Harper's, Scribner's, and Leslie's Weekly, and was able to venture to Cuba as a correspondent. By the time Christy returned to the United States, he had become a well-known illustrator.
Because the war had brought him recognition, Christy became known as a military artist, and the publications continued to send him war stories to illustrate. He quickly grew tired of this "soldier stuff" and sought a way to work himself out of these restrictions. "‘Surely by now I have served my apprenticeship and have earned an opportunity of just one girl--any girl,' I told the art editors, but they could not see it my way and handed me, this time from Scribner's, a story by Richard Harding Davis; a yarn as you can imagine, about more soldiers. But traditionally warriors must have loves, and those loves must be left behind and worn on ragged sleeves whenever guns stop popping. So I portrayed this battle-scarred hero returning home, now that peace was in sight, to a girl whose features were radiantly discernible through the cloud of smoke from his pipe. She was everything my poor talent was able to make her: young, glowing, tender and infinitely sweet. Thus, out of my own dreams was fashioned the first ‘Christy Girl,' whose reception turned me, almost overnight, into a painter of some of the world's most beautiful models."
Christy was a New York celebrity, joining a circle of prominent artists, actors, and writers in their boisterous gatherings at the Players Club, the Aldine Club, and the Lambs Club, where he and James Montgomery Flagg were always the life of the party. The newspapers and magazines would follow his whereabouts incessantly. One week Christy broke into print three times with his escapades: he rode a trick pony at the Circus Ball; drew Miss Motor Corps of American while seated on an old beer case; and ventured to declare to the entire American public that he considered the Venus de Milo poorly proportioned, particularly at the lower extremities. Christy's flair for publicity often drew antagonism from others in his circle, but with his lively countenance, no one could hold it against him. Norman Rockwell said of it, "We couldn't dislike Christy for it. He had such a warm, jovial personality: flamboyantly good-natured, boomingly cheerful. And if he liked publicity so much and was so good at getting it, well, I couldn't hate him for it. It seemed to go with his character. It fed him and he fed it. Publicity and he were right for each other. Like pearls and duchesses or cole slaw and church suppers."
Christy married Nancy Palmer, one of his models, in 1919, as soon as he was able to make the final divorce settlements with his former wife. For years he used Palmer as his exclusive model. Her face was seen everywhere between 1916 and 1921, but no single example of her charm is more familiar today than that appearing in Christy's famous poster of World War I, "Gee!! I Wish I Were a Man." Receiving his assignment from the Division of Pictorial Publicity (of which Charles Dana Gibson was Director), Christy devised a poster that would effectively lure young men into the recruitment centers. (Conscription had not yet been introduced.) The poster was an overwhelming success, becoming to the Navy what James Montgomery Flagg's "I Want You" was to the Army, and thousands of citizens enlisted in the Navy as a result of its appeal.
The many posters Christy painted during World War I were his first public service efforts, but were by no means his last. He was a fervent patriot, and over the following years, without receiving any remuneration, devoted himself to a variety of other causes as well, including the Police Athletic League, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the Children's Humane Army. In recognition of his public service, the United States Naval Academy elected him an Honorary Member of the Academy's Class of 1921 (the only civilian ever to receive this honor), and he proudly wore the class ring all his life.
In 1921, while he was at the peak of his career, he announced that he was retiring from magazine illustration to devote himself entirely to the painting of portraits. He did very few illustrations after 1921. The same enthusiasm Christy had applied to illustration was now poured into his portraits. In the first year of his new career he completed 30 canvases, including portraits of Mrs. William Randolph Hearst and President Warren G. Harding. But this was only the beginning. Christy was destined to become the most fashionable portrait painter of his day, and the list of luminaries to sit for him is impressive: Will Rogers, Herbert Hoover, Mary Baker Eddy, Norman Vincent Peale, Fritz Kreisler, the Prince of Wales, the Crown Prince of Italy, Amelia Earhart, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, etc.
The most dramatic event in Christy's career came at the end of the 1930s, when he was commissioned to paint the signing of the Constitution for the Capitol. Receiving $30,000 for the assignment, Christy devoted more than two years to research, scouring libraries and picture collections for likenesses and descriptions of the Constitution's 39 signers. Every detail was considered, from the buckles on the shoes to the architectural ornamentation of the room's interior. The canvas was 20 feet by 30 feet, so large that Christy was unable to locate any room in Washington large enough for a studio, until he landed upon the sail loft at the Navy Yard. He worked there everyday from 9:00 to 3:00 for eight months. When the painting was complete, 20 men were required to lug the 1,700-pound canvas from the Navy Yard to the Capitol. It was unveiled in 1940, then transferred to its final location above the east Grand Stairway in the Capitol the following year. It still hangs there.
Christy remained active until his 80th year. He passed away in his apartment at the Hotel des Artistes in 1952. An unfinished painting stood waiting at his easel.
James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960)
When he was sixteen, Flagg submitted his drawings for admission to the National Academy School and was turned down, so he went to study at the Art Students League. If Flagg developed remarkably as an artist, he was not inclined to attribute this to his formal art education. Years later, in a letter to the New York Herald Tribune, he wrote, "There are no art teachers. Art cannot be taught. Artists are born that way. They educate themselves, or else they do not become educated . . . I happen to have been born an artist. Ask anyone who doesn't know. I wasted six years of my young life in art schools. As far as any benefit accruing to me from them--I was working on the outside all the time, anyway. Nothing but total disability or death could have stopped me. I had to be an artist--I was born that way . . . You can't breed an artist. You can only breed mediocrity."
Every week some publication carried a Flagg illustration. In addition to the highly esteemed Scribner's, Flagg also continued to work regularly for all the major publications, including Judge, Life, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Liberty, and Harper's Weekly. He received so many assignments that he claimed to have averaged an illustration a day for years--and the quantity of his work reproduced between 1904 and 1950 substantiates the accuracy of this estimate.
Fortunately, Flagg was already too old to fight by the time World War I erupted, because he did not have the proper attitude for battle: he was convinced that men went to war for excitement, not for noble ideals. Actually, the United States profited more from Flagg the Artist than they would have from Flagg the Soldier. In 1917 New York Governor Whitman appointed Flagg "State Military Artist."
Today Flagg is remembered more for his poster "I Want You" than for any other achievement of his career. Strange as it may seem, this artist, whose work was exhibited every week in all the major publications, was made immortal by this single poster, a minute fraction of his total output. Yet if he is to be remembered for any one thing, this poster is the most obvious selection. Originally drawn for the cover of Leslie's Weekly, "I Want You" was to become the most famous poster of both world wars, an estimated four million copies issued in the first World War and about 400,00 in the second.
The idea for "I Want You" probably derived from Alfred Leete's British poster depicting Lord Kitchener, "Your Country Needs You." Flagg did not deny or admit to the similarity, but felt the question was irrelevant. For an artist who freely dispensed ideas, he did not hesitate to borrow either. How well the idea was handled was far more interesting to him than its origin. Formerly a benign old man in stars and stripes, Uncle Sam was transformed by Flagg into a compelling leader who meant business. Never again would Uncle Sam be regarded in quite the old manner.
Flagg's Uncle Sam poster was so successful that he stopped attending the weekly meetings of the Division of Pictorial Publicity: "I became horribly bored with rising toasts." Although he continued to be a member of the group, he worked alone, and during the course of the war he designed forty-six posters.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Flagg lived to see himself drift into obscurity, a painful process for one who never cared about the future. he may have been proud of his youthful abandon, but he paid a price for it. In his younger years he made many friends, but the friendships were neither lasting nor profound. His closest friends in the final years were much younger than himself; "I rarely see most of my best friends nowadays. Some I don't see because they're dead; others are practically dead. I'm old enough to be the father of most of my pals, because I don't enjoy people my own age, they're shot and worn out."
James Montgomery Flagg died on May 27, 1960, three weeks before his eighty-third birthday.
John T. McCutcheon (1870-1949)
Upon graduating, McCutcheon traveled to Chicago, where he got a job as a cartoonist with the Chicago Morning News. His early days in the city were summed up when he wrote that his "greatest excitement was lunching off ten cents worth of Tokay grapes, which were new and unusual then and considered very grand." His talent developed rapidly and by 1898 he was sent abroad to travel, draw cartoons, and report on his journey. This became a habit for McCutcheon, and much of the remainder of his life was spent traveling for the paper or taking extended vacations.
In 1903, John joined the staff of the Chicago Tribune, where he stayed until his retirement. The passing of time brought him popularity and for 40 years he was America's foremost cartoonist. His works followed world politics and human interest features. Events ranging from Dewey's victory at Manila Bay to Theodore Roosevelt's safari in Africa drew his professional attention, but fictional features concerning habits of the human race were his best loved pieces. By chance a "flop-eared, dough-faced hound" became his most widely acclaimed character. Having fist appeared inserted at the corner of a cartoon to fill in untouched space, the dog caught the public's fancy and became a regular in John's cartoons.
McCutcheon drew much attention with his marriage to Evelyn Shaw. The daughter of Howard and Martha Shaw, close friends of John's, Evelyn grew up listening to the tales of John's world travels. These accounts were in his words, "all calculated, perhaps not unintentionally, to transform a rather mild man in his late thirties into a somewhat heroic figure." When she reached the age of 16 the relationship between them began to change, and by the age of 21 she had convinced the 47 year old cartoonist to join the ranks of the married. The couple honeymooned on a Caribbean island that he had purchased a short time before, and in later years, they returned there often to spend lazy, relaxing vacations. Between travels abroad and vacations to the island John and Evelyn managed to raise four children.
John T. McCutcheon's awards were almost as extensive as his travels. He received numerous honorary degrees, and was awarded the Dewey Medal by Congress. His greatest award, however, came in 1931 when he received the Pulitzer Prize for Cartoons. John McCutcheon lived to be 79 years old drawing cartoons until his death in June 1949. There is a residence hall at Purdue University which bears his name.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
As his personal contribution during World War II, Rockwell painted the famous "Four Freedoms" posters, symbolizing for millions the war aims as described by President Franklin Roosevelt. One version of his "Freedom of Speech" painting is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Rockwell left High school to attend classes at the National Academy of design and later studied under Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman at the Art Students League in New York. His early illustrations were done for St. Nicholas magazine and other juvenile publications. He sold his first cover painting to the Post in 1916 and ended up doing over 300 more. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson sat for him for portraits, and he painted other world figures, including Nassar of Egypt and Nehru of India.
In 1957 the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington cited him as a Great Living American, saying that, "Through the magic of your talent, the folds next door - their gentle sorrows, their modest joys - have enriched our own lives and given us new insight into our countrymen."
The Norman Rockwell Museum un Stockbridge, Massachusetts has established a large collection of his paintings, and has preserved Rockwell's last studio as well.
Norman Rockwell was born in 1894 in the back bedroom of a shabby brownstone on 103rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. At sixteen Rockwell dropped out of high school to study art full time, first attending the rather stuffy classes at the National Academy where he found that the emphasis was on developing fine artists. He then transferred to the Art Students League, more to hi liking, which prepared him for a career as an illustrator. From his afternoon classes with George Bridgman he developed his ability to depict the human figure, and from his morning classes with Thomas Fogarty, he discovered the world of illustration, and was thus introduced to his favorites--Howard Pyle and Edwin Abbey--through their reproductions. Rockwell always worked hard at his studies ("I was not a rebel"), and took whatever odd jobs he could in the evenings to help finance his art education. It was Fogarty who obtained commercial assignments for Rockwell, the first of his career. In one of there Rockwell actually earned $150 for ten or twelve drawings made for a children's book called Tell Me Why Stories. He was not yet eighteen years old.
Adolphe Treidler (1886-1982)
In one of his drawings he included a Pierce Arrow car and Whitehead had just started handling their account. That painting started a long relationship between Treidler and Pierce Arrow. "I never much like story illustration. A little bit . . . I liked scenery and I like travel. . ." He began with some spot illustrations for catalogues, but the main work for Pierce Arrow started in 1928. He used his own images for reference rather than the company's own. "I went out in a car and took my own photographs. I could have had [company produced] photographs and I probably did at some time, but the photographs were all, you know, conventional views such as they used in catalogs, and they weren't much use to me."
The war started him as a poster artist. In 1916 he won the Newark 250th foundation celebration poster and established a national reputation. He was not paid for war posters.
Treidler was also celebrated for his series of magazine covers for Colliers magazine. He met the editor Albert Lee who commissioned six covers at three times what he was normally paid. From 1930, he worked mainly on marine and holiday images for the French Line (and their agents Ayers of Chicago). He also painted murals in the head offices of the French Line.
Adolphe Treidler was instrumental in the development of American commercial art. Treidler produced prints of urban life and one of his favorite themes was the construction of the city. His work show a command of drawing, in most instances derived from photographic reference, and a love of intricate surface pattern often from cast shadows. In the 1930s, Treidler was seen as the great American poster artist, to be mentioned in the same breath as the Beggarstaffs and Steinlen. After 1945, his reputation seemed to have declined except among graphic design enthusiasts and the admirers of Pierce Arrow cars with whom Treidler was most associated. In his later years he turned from commercial illustration to paint purely for his own pleasure. He died in 1982.
Artist featured in the Collection