Fight or buy bonds

Unit United States Army
Accession Number ARTV00001
Collection type Art
Measurement Sheet: 76.1 cm x 51.2 cm
Object type Poster
Physical description chromolithograph on paper
Maker Christy, Howard Chandler
Place made United States of America: Massachusetts, Suffolk County, Boston, United States of America: Massachusetts, Suffolk County, Boston
Date made 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Poster depicting a young woman looking out at the viewer and brandishing an American flag above her head. With her other arm she gestures to the soldiers behind her. This image is styled on Delacroix's famous painting 'Liberty leading the people', in which a female personification of Liberty urges the people to fight. Like Delacroix's work, the poster depicts the fighters being encouraged by a female liberty. Similarly, the soldiers are grimly determined in the face of chaos. The text encourages viewer either to enlist to fight or subscribe to the third liberty loan. Many posters of this time, especially American, sought to appeal to citizens' patriotic pride. As the war dragged on, many countries realised that extra funds and resources would be needed and launched public war loans programs. Individuals and companies were asked to buy government war bonds which would be repaid with interest after the war. These loan subscriptions have been estimated to have covered 60 percent or more of the cost of the war in Germany.
Howard Chandler Christy was born 1873 in Ohio, USA. He studied at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League under William Merrit Chase. He was made famous for his 'Christy Girls' which were first featured on posters made during the Spanish-American War. These 'Christy Girls' posters were often based on the idea of sexual provocation, which despite their popularity, were viewed with disdain by the critics. After the First World War, Christy became a portrait painter and teacher.