The Art of Persuasion: American Propaganda Posters and the Great War Opens Saturday
January 26, 2017

(January 26, 2016) – The Art of Persuasion: American Propaganda Posters and the Great War opens on Saturday in the second floor Katz Gallery at the Figge Art Museum.
April 6, 2017 marks the centennial of the United States’ declaration of war on Germany and its entry into World War I. The Art of Persuasion exhibition explores how some of the most important artists and illustrators of the day supported the war effort. 
Prior to radio, newspaper ads and poster broadsides were the chief means of communicating ideas to the public. Posters, often placed in post offices, banks and businesses, played a key role in securing the country’s support for WWI. Focusing on the themes of liberty, patriotism and fear, artists created compelling imagery that inspired a reluctant country to not only support the war but also fund it.

Featured in the exhibition are artists celebrated for their illustrations of flirtatious young women, such as Howard Chandler Christy, Harrison Fisher and James Montgomery Flagg. They often created war posters featuring the same young women, seemingly asking men to “enlist” or to “buy bonds.” 

Posters designed by noted illustrators such as Edward Penfield, J.C. Leyendecker, and important women artists including Ethel Betts Bains, Jessie Willcox Smith and Maginel Wright Enright (Frank Lloyd Wright’s youngest sister), also are featured prominently in The Art of Persuasion.

WWI artifacts from Quad-City area collections, as well as examples of WWI items manufactured in the Quad Cities, will also be on display.

The exhibition is curated by Andrew Wallace, Figge manager of collections and exhibitions, and Ranelle Knight-Lueth Ph.D., assistant professor of art history at Coe College, with the assistance of Christina Kastell, curator of history and anthropology at the Putnam Museum and Science Center and Mary Bennett, archivist with the State Historical Society of Iowa.
This program is part of World War I and America Project, a two-year national initiative of Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.
During this exhibition the Figge will offer free admission with ID for active duty military, arsenal personnel and their families. Admission will also be free for Veterans.
The exhibition will be on display through May 14 and is sponsored by Triumph Bank and the World War I and America Project.

Companion Events:
Historian Talk
Thursday, February 16
5:30 p.m. Social Hour / 7 p.m. Talk
Command Historian George Eaton will share local history from WWI and connect it with the exhibition. Free!
Curator Talk
Thursday, April 6
5:30 p.m. Social Hour / 7 p.m. Talk
Co-curators Dr. Ranelle Knight-Lueth, assistant professor of Art History and Gallery Director at Coe College, and Andrew Wallace, manager of collections and exhibitions at the Figge Art Museum, will introduce the exhibition and highlight certain works in the gallery. Free!
Film: A Farewell to Arms (1932)
Thursday, April 13
5 p.m. Cash bar / 6 p.m. Film 
Based on Ernest Hemingway’s novel, this film is about a love affair between an American ambulance driver and an English nurse in Italy during World War I. Directed by Frank Borzage, it stars Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper and Adolphe Menjou. 85 min. Free!
Exhibition Tours
1:30 p.m. February 19, March 11, 19
Free with membership or paid admission


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