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Sale 2515 Lot 18
JAMES MONTGOMERY FLAGG (1870-1960) TRAVEL? ADVENTURE? ANSWER - JOIN THE MARINES! Circa 1918.
40x29 1/4 inches, 101 1/2x74 1/4 cm.
Condition A / A-: minor expertly-repaired tears at edges; minor abrasions and restoration in border.
During World War I, the U.S. military commissioned artists and illustrators like James Montgomery Flagg and Howard Chandler Christy to create posters with striking images and simple statements to galvanize young men to join the fight abroad. The posters were so effective that after the armistice was signed, with 'a peace army greatly needed, the Marines . . . again sought the poster's aide in making this force possible' (The Poster, November 1919, p. 23). However, a new angle was needed to recruit during peacetime. As explained by the Marine Recruiting Publicity Bureau, 'It was necessary now to present the military career as something worthwhile to the young man seeking an occupation . . . men now enlist in a more thoughtful mood . . . we have to show them that we can offer them an interesting and profitable career' (Ibid, p. 27). While the Army and Navy advertised for men looking to learn a trade, 'the Marines, looking for a 'scrapper,' put forth the travel and adventure idea . . . for after all, travel and adventure, new experiences, form the strongest magnet for drawing men into the Marine Corps' (Ibid.) Flagg's design of a jaunty marine on the back of a leopard was not only perfectly suited to catch the eye of a passer-by, but also wonderfully imparted the concept that "the Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand' (Ibid). One of Flagg's rarest posters; we have found only four other copies at auction in the last 20 years. Flagg p. 66, Rawls p. 250, Borkan p. 35, Theofiles 57.
Estimate $4,000 - 6,000