Jean Carlu (1900-1997)

View Artist Biography
15 x 20"
INV. #:
Original vintage World War II poster; linen backed; mint condition. (Original fold marks restored durinig linen backing. All WWII posters were folded and mailed.) This is one of Carlu's most famous designs.
The most lauded of all WWII posters, Carlu’s modern design masterpiece clearly illustrates the importance of civilian industry to the war efforts. The analogy between a machine gun and a rivet gun gives each equal importance. However, there was some confusion as not everyone saw the industrial worker with the rivet gun for what he was. The graphics bureau of the Office of Facts and Figures conducted a survey in 1942 and survey data revealed that people read the worker holding a rivet gun as a gangster with a machine gun and thought the poster’s subject to be the FBI’s war against crime.

The French born Carlu was exposed to cubism early in his career and when he arrived in the United States in 1939 and became involved in the escalating war effort, he recognized that more shocking visuals were necessary to attract attention when other posters were becoming increasingly cluttered by graphics and messages. This was his response: Gunmen, a shocking yellow background, the geometric shapes of cubism and bold simple graphics.