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History of Graphic Design through Publications: JOSEPH PENNELL

The Liberty Loan Poster: A Textbook for Amateurs (1918)

Locations: Special Collections

Joseph Pennell, painter, illustrator, etcher, lecturer, critic, author, teacher. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts between 1878-80. He completed over 1800 etchings and lithographs, executed mostly in Europe before 1917. His style was strongly influenced by James Whistler, and his technique was influenced by drawings of Charles Reinhardt. He also wrote and illustrated nearly a hundred books including a biography of Whistler and was a contributor to the leading magazines of his day.

The poster is one of the most famous of all World War I posters, bearing the slogan "That Liberty Shall Not Perish from the Face of the Earth Buy Liberty Bonds." It depicts enemy biplanes flying over the Statue of Liberty in a battle scene in New York Harbor. Pennell documented his creation of this work in his book The Liberty Loan Poster: A Textbook for Amateurs. The book shows the printing process and the individual color separations.

This type of poster is discussed in Wake up, America! : World War I and the American poster by Walton Rawls with foreword by Maurice Rickards. Call Number NC1807 U5 R261 1988

See also the exhibition photo essay from the Library of Congress.

Ad from the NY Times in 1918

Pennell book cover
Book

Pennell poster
Poster

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