American fine print artists have created some of the most powerful political and patriotic works in history. Shepard Fairey just jumped into the political fray with a new campaign poster.
Fairey’s work is tame in comparison to the print that Andy Warhol made when the Democratic party asked him for a contribution to George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign against Richard Nixon. Instead of a portrait of McGovern, Warhol chose to create a diabolic portrait of Nixon underscored with the hand-written message, Vote McGovern. Nixon won, but Warhol’s work, for sale at Vertu, is still one of the most powerful campaign posters in political history.
We tend to think about Pop artists as rebels in their day, and they were. But many of those same artists served in the Armed Forces during World War ll and the Korean War. That experience shaped their experience as artists and, in some cases, allowed them to continue their art education through the G.I. Bill.
Roy Lichtenstein was in the army from 1943 through 1946. He was worked as a draftsman and artist for the army. Lichtenstein was stationed in Europe, where he was exposed to great European art and artists. He was one of the artists who went to school under G.I. Bill and received a Master of Fine Arts from Ohio State University.
Lichtenstein did pilot training during his stint in the Army. His screenprint, Salute to Aviation, won a Purchase Award at the Brooklyn Museum’s 17th National Print Exhibition in 1970. It’s available for sale in our gallery at this time.
American artist Robert Earl Clark chose to call himself Robert Indiana, a tribute to the state in which he was born and raised. After a stint in the Air Force during the late 1940s, Indiana attended the Art Institute of Chicago under the G.I. Bill. His 2008 HOPE silkscreen was reproduced on T-shirts and other merchandise and netted more than $1million for the Obama campaign.
Indiana, at age 87, secludes himself, and his chihuahua, in his home in the coastal town of Vinalhaven, Maine. He he’s stayed out of politics since the 2008 election. When asked about the recent presidential campaigns by a Guardian interviewer, Indiana said, “I have, right in front of me as I sit talking to you, a Mexican friend of mine. He’s a chihuahua. And he’s very disturbed and very depressed watching TV. He’s sure that Trump guy is going to do away with chihuahuas.”
Jasper Johns, one of the greatest American painters and printmakers served in the army during the Korean War. Johns’ American Flags and maps are iconic images. Johns was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
We have several of Jasper Johns prints for sale at Vertu. One of our favorites is Periscope, which showcases his extraordinary use of color and design and his skill as a printmaker.
It’s not easy to imagine Robert Rauschenberg, a rebel in the art world, taking orders from anyone, but Rauschenberg was drafted and served in the Navy toward the end of World War ll.
His work includes images of and homages to iconic American people, places and events.
Rauschenberg created his Stoned Moon Series in 1969, the year of America’s first successful moon landing. He was invited to Cape Canaveral, by NASA, to witness the launch of Apollo 11. The prints and writings he did in Stoned Moon Series indicate how profoundly affected he was by the event.
The Rauschenberg prints for sale at Vertu are distinctly American and attest to Rauschenberg’s skill as both a fine artist and printmaker. Artists have influenced the way we look at the world and the world has influenced the art they produce.