1917 Destroy This Mad Brute One-Sheet Poster - Finest World War I Poster!
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $6,517.50
Rare World War I recruitment poster, titled Destroy This Mad Brute, created by artist H. R. Hopps in 1917. This is one of the most evocative American propaganda posters ever created, with the image nothing short of apocalyptic in its warning against the consequences of unimpeded German aggression. The poster features an illustration of an enormous gorilla carrying a helpless woman in its arms as it emerges from the ocean onto American soil. Behind it, overseas, is pictured a scene of complete and utter annihilation, with just ruins standing. The blatant symbolism pictures the gorilla, representing a German soldier, sporting a mustache in the style of German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II and wearing a German Pickelhaube lettered "Militarism" on the front. In his right hand he carries a bloody club with the word "Kultur" written upon it, indicating that Germans are uncivilized. The blackened shore he stands upon bears the word "America." At the base of the poster are the words "Enlist/U. S. Army." Printed along the bottom white border are the names of a number of different lithography companies that joined forces to help produce this piece. This poster was meant to graphically symbolize the rape of Belgium, and to instill fear in Americans that our country could meet a similar fate if Germany were not defeated in the war. Despite its overt racism, as a recruitment tool it was probably quite effective in eliciting a patriotic response from anyone who viewed it. With the exception of the iconic Uncle Sam I Want You poster, Destroy This Mad Brute is perhaps the most famous and highly prized World War I recruitment poster in the collecting world today, and one that is exceedingly rare as well. This is the first example of this poster we have ever offered and we can only recall having seen one other at public auction in the past ten years (we found a record of one that sold at auction for a reported $8,200 in 2004). The poster (26.5 x 41 inches) displays light-to-moderate creasing, as well as a few insignificant small tears. Most of the tears are limited to the border and corner areas, and a few have been repaired on the front by means of clear tape. A tiny area of discoloration is visible just below the "ro" in "Destroy." It should be noted that even though the piece is technically in Good to Very Good condition, most of the flaws are quite unobtrusive and the piece displays a strong Excellent appearance. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 36 x 51 inches. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be a shipping charge for this lot (which will vary depending upon where it is being shipped). The shipping charge will be billed separately from the auction invoice. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000+. SOLD FOR $6,517.50