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Pencil caricature of William Randolph Hearst and Adolf Hitler in a boat for Anti-Hearst Day

Object | Accession Number: 2015.609.5

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    Pencil caricature of William Randolph Hearst and Adolf Hitler in a boat for Anti-Hearst Day


    Brief Narrative
    Pencil sketch by Harold Lehman for the design of a boat float with Adolf Hitler and William Randolph Hearst with revolving, interchangeable heads sitting back to back in the center. The float was meant to sail along the beach of Coney Island on July 4, 1936 which was proclaimed Anti-Hearst Day by the Anti-fascist movement. William Randolph Hearst was one of the largest newspaper and magazine publishers in the United States. In the 1930s he commissioned Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and other high ranking Nazis to write columns for his papers. The float was made by the Siquieros Experimental Workshop in New York City, where Harold Lehman worked. Award winning painter, muralist and sculptor, Harold Lehman was known for making political statements with his artwork. He was born and raised in New York City, but moved to Los Angeles as a teenager, attending the Otis Art Institute. While in L.A. he worked with Phil Guston, Jackson Pollock, D.A. Siqueiros, and Manuel Tolegain. In 1941, Harold moved back to New York and continued his career, working with the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) and the Federal Art Project, both New Deal programs to employ artists. He also worked with the Treasury department and Abbott Laboratories to create War Bond advertisements, pro-American propaganda, and anti-fascist pieces.
    Anti-Hearst Day-July 4 1936 Coney Island - NYC
    creation:  1936
    creation: New York (N.Y.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lisa Lehman Trager
    front, bottom center, handwritten, pencil ANTI-HEARST DAY- JULY 14, 1936 / CONEY ISLAND - NYC
    front, within image, handwritten, pencil : HEARST-HITLER / ANTIHEARST ANTI-FASCIST
    Artist: Harold Lehman
    Subject: Adolf Hitler
    Subject: William R. Hearst
    Harold Lehman (1913-2006) was born in New York City, New York to Abraham and Rachel Lehman, immigrants from Europe who arrived in New York at the turn of the twentieth century. Early on, Harold’s father struggled to find consistent employment, working as a mailman and a vaudeville dancer. Later he found steady work as an insurance agent and then left the family and moved to California. His mother was a seamstress. Harold had a twin brother and was one of five children. Harold was part Jewish, and went through synagogue as a boy. The family lived in the West side of Brooklyn and then in the Bronx. In February 1930, Harold and his older brother Charlie moved to California to live with their father.

    In California, Harold enrolled at the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. There he formed lifelong friendships with future notable artists such as Phil Guston, Jackson Pollock, and Manuel Tolegain. Early in his art career, Harold worked primarily as a sculptor. He used plaster and clay as well as carving directly in stone. In 1931, after graduating from Manual Arts, Lehman won a citywide competition for a yearlong scholarship to the Otis Art Institute. In 1932, after leaving Otis, Harold focused on painting and began working with painter D.A. Siqueiros, joining his “Bloc of Painters,” a group of artists with socialist leanings. In 1933, Harold won second place in the Los Angeles Museum’s annual competition of painters and sculptors. In 1933 and 1934, Harold did work for the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) a New Deal program to employ artists.

    In 1935, Harold felt he had gone as far as he could in Los Angeles, and returned to New York City. There he painted murals for the Federal Art Project, another New Deal program created to employ artists, and sold paintings at exhibits and shows. During this time he continued working with Siqueiros and began experimenting with different types of paints, lacquers and application methods. In 1936 and 1937, Harold created paintings opposing the Fascists and the German and Italian intervention in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, Harold painted a mural for the World’s Fair in New York. While working with Siqueiros, Harold also designed floats for several New York City parades promoting the Allied war effort and denouncing fascism. In the fall of 1941, Harold fell while painting a mural and broke both his arms. While recuperating, Harold was called up for service by the draft board. With the combination of his broken arms, his disinclination towards violence, his inability to take orders and his work as an artist for federal programs, he was able to get a deferral.

    In 1942, Harold moved from New York City to Woodstock, NY where he created several war paintings for the Section of Fine Arts and the Treasury Department. Around this time, Harold was approached by Arnold Blanch and Reeves Lewenthal, from the Associated American Artist Gallery. Through a partnership with Associated American Artists and the United States Treasury Department, Abbott Laboratories created a program to create advertisements and illustrations for its medical journal What’s New and for the United States Government’s War Department through their Schools-At-War program. They provided Harold with poster themes and he was free to create within that setting. The series of posters was created through the auspices of the Treasury Department and were successfully published nationwide. In 1943, two of Harold’s war posters were featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s Artists for Victory exhibit. In 1945, in response to the revelation of the atrocities of the Holocaust, Harold did many blackened drawings of prisoners and the camps.

    In 1946, Harold left Woodstock and returned to New York City. He continued easel painting, sculpting, and photography. He also began teaching art from his studio on West 21st Street. In 1950, Lehman met Leona Koutras, who had come to his studio for art lessons. Two years later they married and had two children. In the 1970s Harold worked as designer and scenic artist for CBS and NBC television.
    William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) was born in San Francisco, California. His father was a gold mine owner and a United States Senator. In 1887, Hearst took control of the San Francisco Examiner, a struggling newspaper and turned it into a profitable enterprise. Over the next forty years Hearst established or acquired newspapers and magazines across the United States, building a vast fortune and influence on public opinion. In the 1930s, Hearst gave voice to the fascist leaders of Europe by commissioning Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini to write pieces for his nationwide publications and in 1934, Hearst met with Hitler in Berlin.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Pencil drawing (lcsh)
    Pencil drawing.
    Physical Description
    Pencil sketch on off white card stock of a small boat on the water with Adolf Hitler and William Randolph Hearst sitting back to back in the center. The boat and the men are heavily shaded with dark coloring. The men have swastikas on their biceps and wear military style helmets. There are small banners on each end of the boat and a banner above the two men. The banners all have English text and there are two lines of text below the image. There are a few light clouds in the sky.
    overall: Height: 11.000 inches (27.94 cm) | Width: 14.000 inches (35.56 cm)
    overall : cardstock, pencil

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    Restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    New York.

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015 by Lisa Lehman Trager, the daughter of Harold Lehman.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-23 16:50:55
    This page:

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