Edward T. Pollack Fine Arts


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Shahn, Ben. WARNING - INFLATION MEANS DEPRESSION. P.156. Poster, photo-offset in colors, 1946. 41 1/8 x 27 3/4 inches. Edition size is unknown. Published by the Political Action Committee of the CIO. Signature printed within the image. Folded, as issued, else in excellent condition, and attractively framed. "The antecedent work of this poster is a 1943 tempera, 1943 A.D. According to Bernarda Shahn, her husband did the painting during his stay in the Office of War Information, basing his work on a photograph he had taken in the thirties while traveling in the hills of Arkansas. The photograph was of a farmer, whose seeming integrity and strength greatly impressed Shahn. Engaging his subject in coversation, Shahn found out that the farmer estimated the value of his crop at one dollar and fifty cents. The farmer in the meantime had sent out his two boys with a shotgun and two shells to hunt for their dinner. Before long they returned with two squirrels. In the poster, the blue-shirted worker, chin in hand, seems fearful and confused. The appealingly simple proposition, "a equals b, therefore do c," was presented by Shahn as "Inflation Equals Depression, therefore Register and Vote." However, the image of this troubled man lingers with the viewer and takes on a meaning far beyond the intent of the poster message. His facial expression suggests even deeper anxieties, which may be expalined that the painted image originated during a perion of Shahn's life when the cruelties of the Second World War were foremost in his mind." Prescott, "The Complete Graphic Works of Ben Shahn," p. 132. 

Inv num: 6457