World War 1 Poster Art
In 1917 The United States joined the first World War which was raging throughout Europe. Under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson a concerted effort was made throughout America to ensure citizens were aware of the war and the issues that faced them upon Americas entry into the war.
President Wilson established The Committee of Public Information in 1917 specifically for this purpose. At the same time The Division of Pictorial Publicity was created under that Committee. The Division of Pictorial Publicity was headed by Charles Creel, described as a muckraking journalist from Missouri. Creel, with the help of Charles Dana Gibson drew together the artists that would go on to produce an amazing number of War posters, many of which are instantly recognizable to this day and were one of the first examples of wartime propaganda.
The artists that came together under Creel and Gibson came from a variety of backgrounds and expertise and all donated their time and effort to the cause. The group consisted of illustrators, commercial artists, etchers, lithographers and newspaper illustrators. Over 300 artists were involved in producing posters that covered a range of themes, many of them homeland issues. The posters dealt with themes from Army and Navy enlistments, the role of women at home, Liberty Bonds, Food Saving and the Red Cross.
Between April 1917 and November 1918 over 700 posters were submitted to Washington for approval.
Among the artists involved was James Montgomery Flagg. Flagg was the artist responsible for creating one of if not the most enduring image of American war time and what has become a symbol of America, Uncle Sam. Flagg created the image of Uncle Sam based on himself.
The posters from war time leave a legacy for all to see, when the issue of war had wide ranging impacts on everyone and everyday life. A legacy that The United States has conveniently forgotten it would seem