[A Complete Set of six wartime propaganda postcards]: 1. La Basse Cour de John Bull [John Bull’s farmyard] 2. Der Beherrscher der Meere [The Ruler of the waves] 3. L’Entente Cordiale [Entente Cordiale] 4. John Bull, der Freund und Beschutzer der Kleinen [John Bull, the Friend & Defender of Smaller nations] 5. Der Italienische Wetterfahne [The Italian weather vane] 6. Der Vogelfanger [The birdcatcher]
- Author: VON BAUMGARTEN, Eugen (Artist / Printer / Publisher)
- Date: 1915
- Dimensions: 14 x 8.9 / 8.9 x 14 cms each.
A rare unused set of six striking German propaganda postcards by the Munich artist Eugen von Baumgarten published in 1915
About this piece:
Eugen von Baumgarten’s rare series of provocative anti-English German propaganda postcards, 1915-16
Bright printed colours. Unused. Fine complete set
This rare, finely crafted, complete set of German propaganda postcards are the work of Munich artist & publisher, Eugen von Baumgarten [c.1863/7-1919]. The set includes a reduced postcard version (in landscape format) of his powerful 1915 poster, L’Entente Cordiale.
Von Baumgarten lambasts many aspects of British wartime policy: in the first of the cards, his target is British bankrolling of the foreign & neutral Press, as John Bull dispenses handful of coins to an assembled gaggle of press birds & vultures.
A similar approach towards Italy is highlighted in his card of the Italian weathervane, in which a British bag of cash controls its movement & direction (card no.5).
By late 1915 Britain was feeling the debilitating effects of the German U-Boat blockade. In the second card, John Bull, “Ruler of the Waves”, is dragged below those very waves by two fishy German submariners, as he desperately seeks the protection of a neutral flag of convenience (“A Flag, A Flag, A Kingdom for a Flag.”).
In the third card, Von Baumgarten suggests that the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale has been nothing more than an exercise in self-interested expansionism, as a sinister British spider weaves its web across Europe.
In the fourth card, Von Baumgarten highlights the oppressive and self-interested manner with which Britain is accused of treating her colonial subjects in India & Africa, and her smaller Continental allies, such as Belgium & Italy.
In the last of the cards, John Bull is the birdcatcher, vainly seeking to entice the neutral Romanian bird (King Ferdinand) into his trap, as the still neutral royal Bulgarian songbird (who entered the war on the German side, Oct 1915) & Greek owl roost nearby. Romania would indeed be persuaded to join the British side, but did not in fact enter the war until August 1916.
The titles are repeated in French which suggests these cards were perhaps targeted at francophone populations in neutral countries as well as in occupied Belgium and along the Eastern frontiers of France.