Painting America's Portrait - How Illustrators Created America, by James C. Thompson

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Author: James C. Thompson | Show Publication detailsHide Publication details

Clothe Edition:

  • ISBN: 978-1-943642-41-0
  • Size: 9 x 12
  • Pages: 250
  • Images: 150
  • Release Date: 6 April 2017
  • Retail Price: $50.00

Paperback Edition:

  • ISBN: 978-1-943642-42-7
  • Size: 9 x 12
  • Pages: 250
  • Images: 150
  • Release Date: Not yet set
  • Retail Price: $40.00

“Painting America’s Portrait – How Illustrators Created America” is the second book in the “Painting America’s Portrait” series. In the first, James Thompson uses over 300 illustrations to show how America’s artist admen and storytellers capitalized on three decades of advances in corporate advertising and image reproduction technology to create highly dramatic and colorful images. Their business during these notorious decades was to sell products with pictures. By 1914, they were better and more successful than ever. Their success notwithstanding their Golden Age ended with the Great War. Mr. Thompson begins his sequel with an account of the war prior to America’s entry in April 1917. Among the first acts of America’s wartime President was to create a “Committee of Public Information” to manage public opinion and build public support for the nation’s new mission. The committee’s chairman, George Creel, recruited the most celebrated illustrator of the day, Charles Dana Gibson, to draw his colleagues into the enterprise. With Gibson’s help, hundreds of illustrators became producers of “propaganda art.”

Thompson explains that America’s artist pitchmen had three tasks: 1) recruit young men and women in the service of their country, 2) build public support for the war effort, and 3) record the heroism of our boys “over there.” Thompson uses dozens of wartime posters to show how Gibson’s legionnaires accomplished their first two assignments. He uses a gripping collection of works from the National Archives and other repositories to show how the artists of the American Expeditionary Force completed their difficult mission.

Uncle Sam’s talented artists were instrumental in winning the war to end all wars. While doing their unique jobs, they created an enduring image. They showed the peoples who lived in the land of the free and the home of the brave that they were Americans.

“Painting America’s Portrait – How Illustrators Created America” is planned for release on the 100th anniversary of the declaration of war on Germany, (6 April 1917). It will be a uniquely fitting tribute to the American men and women who won it.