Original U.S. WWII 1942 Avenge December 7th OWI Propaganda Poster by Bernard Perlin - 28 x 40

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. "AVENGE DECEMBER 7" A dramatic World War II poster by Bernard Perlin. Washington, D.C. Office of War Information, 1942. Original full-color poster measuring 28 x 40 inches. This moving image depicts a sailor with his fist raised, standing above a scene of an exploding battleship, with the words "Avenge December 7" in red across the middle of the poster. With America's entrance into WWII after Pearl Harbor, the Office of War Information quickly coordinated efforts to generate support for the war effort. This striking image on OWI "Poster No. 15," memorializing the events of December 7, 1941, was painted by Virginia-born artist Bernard Perlin, a Guggenheim fellow and respected painter who was a well-known illustrator for Life and Fortune. 

These posters and others like it were displayed in shipyards, army and navy posts, waterfront bars, restaurants, public buildings and gathering places; and wherever there was danger of spies or saboteurs.

The poster is nicely marked on the bottom border:

OWI Poster No. 15. Additional copies may be obtained upon request from the Division of Public Inquiries, Office of War Information, Washington, D.C.

U. S. Government Printing Office: 1942—O-491978

The condition of the poster is very good, with vibrant colors and no fading it shows the original fold creases but remains smooth and crisp.

Bernard Perlin was an American painter. He is primarily known for creating pro-war art during World War II and magic realism paintings of urban American life.

Perlin was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1918 to Davis and Anna Schireff Perlin. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia, and his father died when Perlin was 10 years old. Perlin grew up with two older sisters, Mildred and Jeanette. At the encouragement of a high school teacher, he was enrolled in the New York School of Design. He studied there from 1934 to 1936, the National Academy of Design with Leon Kroll in 1937, and then the Arts Student League with Isabel Bishop, William Palmer, and Harry Sternberg until 1940. In 1938, he was awarded the Kosciusko Foundation Award to study in Poland.

Perlin was rejected from service in the United States military because he was openly gay.

He continued his focus on war as an artist-correspondent for Life Magazine from 1943–1944 and then again for Fortune Magazine in 1945.

His two most notable wartime pieces, both created in 1943, are arguably his "Let Em Have It" war bonds ad, which depicts a soldier throwing a grenade, and "Americans Will Always Fight for Liberty," a painting of World War II soldiers marching in front of Continental Army soldiers.

In 1939, he painted a country scene on a post office wall for the US Treasury. After the war, his work began to focus on magic realism, aiming to capture special moments in everyday life. He produced his most famous work, Orthodox Boys, in 1948. The painting depicts two Jewish boys standing in front of a subway graffiti backdrop. In 1950, it was the first postwar work by an American artist to be acquired by Tate.

Perlin moved to Italy for six years, and his work became more brightly colored. After several years of retirement, a friend encouraged Mr. Perlin back to the canvas in 2012, and after completing two new pieces the Chair and the Maiden Gallery  hosted a retrospective of Mr. Perlin's work in 2013.

In 1968, Bernard Perlin commemorated Mayor Richard J. Daley and the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Chicago, in a work entitled Mayor Daley. This example of Perlin's work has been used by educators to teach about the Vietnam War. The painting is currently at the Columbus Museum of Art.  

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