Sale 2321, Swann Galleries, Vintage Posters auction, August 7th
Sale 2321 Lot 133
H.R. HOPPS (1869-1937) DESTROY THIS MAD BRUTE / ENLIST. Circa 1917.
41x28 inches, 111x71 cm.
Condition B+: expert overpainting and repaired tears in margins, some affecting image, minor restored losses, abrasions and restoration in margins and image.
"One of the most striking American posters issued during the war" (Picture This p. 68), this fantastic World War I recruitment poster distills the horrors of a German invasion of America into a savage, primitive, sexually charged theme. A red-tongued and drooling gorilla, whose helmet reads “Militarism," is clutching a desperate maiden with her dress torn off in one paw and a bloody club, reading ‘kultur,’ in the other. He is stepping over the sea into America, leaving a burned down and ravaged Europe behind him. “The phallic and bloody cudgel and the beast’s power over the half naked girl give urgency to the enlistment call. As the beast steps onto American shores, recruits are invited both to fight militarism and to vie for the eroticized figure of raped Liberty" (Picture This p. 69). Popular folklore has it that this image was the influence for King Kong. Rawls p. 66, Paret 32, Borkan cov. and 16, Beauty and the Beast p. 5, Picture This p. 69.