Dec 14, 2023 - Sale 2656

Sale 2656 - Lot 194

Price Realized: $ 8,125
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
"Still Life with Wine, Cheese, and Fruit" Illustration created for the Office of War Information. Gouache on board, c. 1942. 762x508 mm; 30x20 inches. Unsigned.

A rare work that has never been to auction or on exhibit, "Still Life with Wine, Cheese, and Fruit" was created by Bemelmans for the Office of War Information (OWI). Established in June 1942, the OWI was responsible for developing programs to inform the public and promote war efforts. The informational works were designed to encourage the Allies to keep fighting, support unliberated countries to maintain their struggle, and weaken the will of the Axis powers.

Bemelmans was recruited to the project by Toby Moss, chief of the Graphic Art Section for the Bureau of Overseas Publications. Moss had previously spent five years at Time Incorporated where, as an art director, he helped design the now iconic LIFE Magazine logo. From 1941 through 1945, he assembled a stellar staff of graphic designers, layout artists, and typographers. He was also tasked to supplement the talent on his team with outside illustrators including Bemelmans, who had already achieved notoriety with the initial U.S. publication of Madeline in 1939. The two men collaborated and became friends in the process. Under Moss' leadership, the Graphics Division produced tens of thousands of pieces of printed propaganda in almost two dozen languages.