By: William Gropper
Date: 1946 (copyright) New York
Dimensions: 22.25 x 32.75 inches (56.5 x 83 cm)
This is a dynamic pictorial map painted by the politically radical artist William Gropper. The map would later become heavily scrutinized by Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
The map combines the literary and historical folklore, featuring figures like Jesse James, John Henry, Huck Finn, and Paul Bunyon. Using bright colors and lively stylized illustrations, Gropper’s work is a stunning example of a mid-century pictorial map. The map contains many references to Black and Indigenous peoples’ history and folklore. Where Canada is, Gropper includes silhouettes of elk, wooly mammoth, pine trees, and deer; Where Mexico is, he includes scorpions, aloe plants, snakes, and a flamingo. The title cartouche is in the shape of a massive silhouetted hawk. East of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean is the “Man Without a Country,” in a boat surrounded by sea creatures.
During the late 1940s, the map was particularly popular among librarians and teachers until it became a target of the Red Scare and was eventually banned by congress. A committed radical, Gropper published work in leftist publications like The Revolutionary Age and The New Masses.
Condition: This map is in B+ condition once dry mounted onto a backing board, it has since been removed and linen-backed for preservation and presentation purposes.
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