This November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, a war unlike any that had preceded it. As modern technology met antiquated military methods, millions died. The War to End All Wars also featured the use of state propaganda on a new and large scale. Posters were a particularly widespread form of propaganda, making a case for action through pictures as well as words. The exhibition “For Home and Country: World War I Posters from the Blum Collection” presents a selection of these images, on view at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia August 18 through November 18.
Murray Blum, a pioneering entomologist and UGA professor, died in 2015. He and his wife, Nancy Ann Blum, collected these posters and the ones that made up the exhibition “Opera in Print,” on view at the museum earlier this year. Both were part of a large gift to the museum in 2017, and the Blums donated others to UGA’s Special Collections Libraries. Some of the latter make up the exhibition “War of Words: Propaganda of World War I,” on view in the Hargrett Library Gallery at Special Collections through December 14.
William U. Eiland, the museum’s director, and Todd Rivers, chief preparator (and a letterpress printer in his spare time), selected the posters for “For Home and Country” for aesthetic effect. They include examples from Allied Powers France, England and the United States as well as posters from Italy and Germany, which fought on the other side in the war.
Eiland said, “Thanks to the generosity of the Blums, with these vivid and persuasive posters, we not only note the centenary of the end of World War I, but we celebrate as well the end of that quasi-global conflagration of death and destruction. In so doing, we honor the men and women who served in our armed forces, too many of whom died.”