Reply to America

Accession Number ART19824
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall (board): 64.4 x 48.4 cm (irreg.); image: 64.4 x 48.4 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description brush, pen and ink, charcoal, white gouache on paper
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1915-1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts a figure of a German officer, in uniform wearing a helmet and cape, looking behind him at a fire burning, while in front of him is a man holding a bill with the words 'Reply to America' on it. Beside this figure stands the figure of a prim woman holding a mechanical figure, with the words 'KULTUR' above her head, while her hand rests on a wheel. The female figure symbolises science. This cartoon was reproduced in Will Dyson' 'War Cartoons' (1916) and expressed his dislike of the cruel vanities of the German military. Dyson's early cartoons were responsible for his growing interest in the First World War and his desire to go to the front and serve as an official war artist. When reproduced, this cartoon had the caption; "Alas! When we Germans said might was right we neglected to make sure we Germans were almighty!". Will Dyson was the first Australian official war artist to visit the front during the First World War, travelling to France in December 1916, remaining there until May 1917, making records of the Australian involvement in the war. He was formally appointed as an official war artist, attached to the AIF, in May 1917, working in France and London throughout the war. His commission was terminated in March 1920.