My opening remarks…
Welcome…my name is David Deal I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to curate this exhibition.
Before we go too far I have some thank yous to throw out there…
Thanks to Purdue Galleries for the opportunity, and the help and the psychological support…so Erika, Michal and Christina…thank you.
Thanks to my wife who endured my rampant chatter about this exhibition all summer long.
Thanks to to Sammie Morris at Purdue Archives & Special Collections and all the folks over there that put up with me knocking around over there.
Thanks to Kelly Lippie at the Tippecanoe County Historical Association for letting me dig through their archives.
Big thanks and a hug to Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler for the additional comments and advice and general thought provoking conversation from the design history side of things.
Thanks to Melinda Zook and the folks at Cornerstone for their support.
And a special thank you to Drew Young for donating his amazing collection of 256 World War 1 Propaganda Posters to the Purdue Archives. Those posters, along with the posters from the Tippecanoe County Historical Association Archive gave us over 350 poster to look through and whittle down to the 20 posters that we have here.
My interest in doing this show was in highlighting some of the illustrators that help to produce these posters. Now keep in mind that these illustrators were working in different areas such as, fashion, children books, newspapers, magazines, comic books and general commercial art, when they got the call to help with the war effort.
As you would assume most of these illustrators have a similar background….
As a child they were really good at art and went onto art school and a career as a commercial artist. Though I bet their parents were wondering how little Norman was going to make a living as a artist. But in this show there is one illustrator that worked as a cowboy… actually getting inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. One had a career as a professional boxer. And one was a woman that was born in Princeton Indiana, who graduated from the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and went to work for the New York Times!
Also in this group is probably the most well know American illustrator…Norman Rockwell…and J.C. Leyendecker also another of Americas preeminent illustrators.
I also tried to represent a variety of styles, medium and techniques, oil paintings on canvas, watercolor, gouache, charcoal, pastels, colored inks and dyes.
The propaganda goals of these poster campaigns was to encourage civilians to support the war effort on the home front by recycling, ride sharing, changing eating habits, the enlistment efforts, buying war bonds…lots and lots of war bonds, and a fair amount of images that demonize the enemy (those really aren’t represented here.)
These were the social media memes of their time…and now these messages fit in the palm of your hand. I would consider that our loss.
I hope you enjoy the show…let me know if you have any questions.
J David Deal
October 17, 2020