Great Illustrators: James Montgomery Flagg

Uncle Sam poster created by James Montgomery Flagg

My wife and I bought our house a while back, and prior to moving in, we’d spent some enjoyable days roaming local antique stores trying to find interesting odds and ends. There is one particularly large store that’s loaded with amazing furnishings from the mansions of the industrial age steel magnates of Buffalo. While looking around, my eye caught two interesting pen and ink drawings, one with three men sitting on a bench looking as thought they were in excited anticipation, and the next had the same characters looking dejected as though they lost at the horse races. The characters were so well drawn, and the expressions and physical aspects so characteristic of what one might see in that situation, I couldn’t take my eyes off the drawings. My wife tugged me away, but not before I caught the artist’s signature: James Montgomery Flagg.

James Montgomery Flagg, 1877 – 1960

When I got home I started researching the name, and lo and behold, he was the artist who created the iconic Uncle Sam recruiting posters of the First and Second World Wars. His artwork is positively brilliant, and his ability to convey an emotion or sentiment is better than any I can recall seeing.

There’s not a great deal about him available on the internet, although Google images provides an interesting cross section of his art as well as some fun images of him at his easel. I’m very interested in learning more about his work, as well as some of contemporaries such as Wyeth and Rackham,  and ordered what appears to be the best volume describing him and his art.


I’m thinking I’ll have to go back and spend the money on those prints – they’d make a perfect addition for the walls of my studio – and a great inspiration for one who creates humorous art. I’ll post pictures of the prints when I purchase them (and I sneak them past my wife!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s