Monday, October 07, 2013

Louis Raemaekers at His Drawing Board

Here are three shots, taken in what looks like the same minute, in Louis Raemaekers' (1869-1956) studio at some point during The Great War. That's my guess, based on what's on his drawing board -- and the fact that

he was the one private individual who exercised a real and great influence on the course of the 1914-18 War. There were a dozen or so people (emperors, kings, statesmen, and commanders-in-chief) who obviously, and notoriously, shaped policies and guided events. Outside that circle of the great, Louis Raemaekers stands conspicuous as the one man who, without any assistance of title or office, indubitably swayed the destinies of peoples. [New York Times 1956 obituary]

Forgotten today, the Dutch-born Raemaekers, having heard of the atrocities the invading German army inflicted on the citizens of Belgium, went against the tide of refugees, secretly visiting Belgium to get the story first hand. 

He then went on a cartoon crusade, depicting what he heard. 

Raemaekers cartoons were instrumental in fighting against deeply entrenched American isolationism, and in 1917 the United States entered the war. Raemaekers quickly organized a lecture tour of the US and Canada, rallying the allies to support the French and mobilize against the Germans. The Christian Science Monitor said of Raemaekers, “From the outset his works revealed something more than the humorous or ironical power of the caricaturist; they showed that behind the mere pictorial comment on the war was a man who thought and wrought with a deep and uncompromising conviction as to right and wrong.”

John Adcoock has a terrific write up on the man at his Yesterday's Papers blog here.

1 comment:

Ariane de Ranitz said...

Hello Mike,
Nice to see these pictures of Louis Raemaekers. Please look at You can see that he is not completely forgotten and it is our goal to put him back into the spotlight. A publication in Dutch and English (two separate books) is scheduled for October 2014, a large exhibit in Venlo, the Netherlands is planned for November.
Where did you get these pictures, they are so clear, looks like they were taken yesterday. I guess they were made in the US, when he was visiting in 1917.
Keep in touch, Ariane de Ranitz