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Bids may also be submitted via fax. Send a list of lots with the sale number and your contact information to (212) 979-1017. You will receive a confirmation before the sale.Sale 2321 | Lot 164Estimate: $5,000 - $7,500
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Sale 2321 Lot 164
FRED SPEAR (DATES UNKNOWN) ENLIST. 1915.
32x23 inches, 82x58 cm. Sackett & Wilhelms Corporation, New York.
Condition B+: repaired tears, creases and abrasions in margins and image; minor losses, restored losses, and staining in margins; faded.
"Without a doubt the rarest and most elusive of war posters produced in the United States" (Theofiles p. 21). Published in June 1915 by the Boston Committee of Public Safety in response to the sinking of the Lusitania, which claimed 128 American lives, Spear's poster chillingly, hauntingly and poignantly stirs our emotions by showing us the callous destruction of innocence. It is at first glance a softly rendered, tender, passionate and almost romantic image, but upon closer inspection the horrible truth becomes apparent. This mother and her baby are sinking in the ocean; the soft rendering is the nightmare of the murky sea, and, indeed, the two are surrounded by almost dream-like images of fish and seaweed. "Like the occasion that produced it [the poster] was unforgettable" (Rickards p. 22). The image was based on a widely circulated news account from Ireland about the sinking of the Lusitania, "On the Cunard wharf lies 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." Paret 34, Darracott 43, Rawls p. 68, Theofiles 8 (var), Rickards 159, IWM p. 53, Borkan p. 14, American Style pl. 59.