Must Children Die and Mothers Plead in Vain?

Must Children Die and Mothers Plead in Vain?, 1918

Henry Raleigh (American, 1880-1945)

Lithograph on paper

On loan from the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina

Henry Raleigh’s posters hailed the emotional, frenetic qualities of German Expressionism that valued eliciting emotion more so than depicting reality. Faces, subjects and environments are obscured in favor of a distorted, color driven subjective surreality. While the specific event and setting of Must Children Die is unclear, the presiding emotional aura of the work is constructed through the reaching arm of the mother coupled with infants clinging to her body. With the simple question slated to the right, the image utilizes a strong sense of empathy to drive viewers to buy bonds.

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