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American war bond propaganda poster featuring a paratrooper jumping from a plane

Object | Accession Number: 2015.609.10

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    American war bond propaganda poster featuring a paratrooper jumping from a plane
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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Offset lithographic war bond advertisement poster by Harold Lehman with an image of a paratrooper about to jump from a plane. The poster was published as a contribution to the Treasury’s Schools-At-War program. 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. Reeves Lewenthal, head of the Associated American Artists, contacted Lehman and gave him free reign to design a paratrooper themed poster how he saw fit. An 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 other War Bond advertisements, pro-American propaganda, and anti-fascist pieces.
    Title
    Invest in Invasion/Buy War Bonds
    Date
    creation:  1943
    Geography
    distribution: United States
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lisa Lehman Trager
    Markings
    front, bottom, printed, white and red ink : Invest in Invasion / BUY WAR BONDS
    front, bottom margin, printed, black ink : PUBLISHED BY ABBOTT LABORATORIES AS A CONTRIBUTION TO THE TREASURY’S SCHOOLS-AT-WAR PROGRAM
    back, bottom right, printed, black ink : the Artist-HAROLD LEHMAN / Harold Lehman, although today only 31 years of age, has had two / distinct art careers—one as a sculptor, the other as a painter. He / was giving great promise of rising to the front rank of American / Sculptors when he found it necessary to switch to painting since / he lacked funds necessary to acquire essential sculpture materials. / Although Lehman has been painting for only ten years, he has / already rolled up an impressive record of achievements. His first / mural exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum in 1934 was awarded / Honorable Mention. Two of his creations were purchased the follow- / ing year by the state of California and, during his six years follow- / ing, the artist was honored with the award of seven important / Federal mural commissions. He completed his last mural project / in February of 1944, and decided to devote a considerable amount / of time to easel painting. He has acquired a studio in the quiet of / Woodstock, New York, and is now at his easel many hours each day. / The artist is a member of the United American Artists and has ex- / hibited in many National exhibitions of contemporary American art.
    Signature
    front, bottom, printed, black ink : H Lehman / 43 [partially obscured]
    Contributor
    Artist: Harold Lehman
    Publisher: Abbott Laboratories
    Biography
    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.

    Physical Details

    Language
    English
    Classification
    Posters
    Category
    War propaganda
    Genre/Form
    Lithographs.
    Physical Description
    Offset lithographic poster printed on medium weight white paper encouraging people to purchase war bonds with an image of a paratrooper about to jump from a plane. He is wearing a tan flight suit, brown boots, and a green combat helmet. He leans out of the plane, his left foot forward, cradling a machine gun in his right hand and holding the doorframe with his left. The green plane has rows of rivets along the fuselage and around the door. Behind him, on the upper right, the shapes of planes and human figures parachuting down are visible in the dark sky. A red line of text extends diagonally across the lower corner of the planes opening. Across the bottom of the image there are two lines of text, one red, and one white. The image is surrounded by a white border and there is printing information at the bottom. The backside has a paragraph of black text with a shaded scrollwork border along the top and left side. There is a small piece of tape on the back.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 15.500 inches (39.37 cm) | Width: 11.000 inches (27.94 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink, adhesive tape

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The poster was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015 by Lisa Lehman Trager, the daughter of Harold Lehman.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-28 07:27:48
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn597139

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