CARL HAMMER GALLERY

740 North Wells Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654 312.266.8512  fax 312.266.8510

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PEOPLE  PICTURES

 

The Art of the Conceptual Photograph 1915 – 1920

 

Featuring work by: Mole and Thomas, E.O. Goldbeck, and Others

 

 

Mole & Thomas

The Living Uncle Sam

1919

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH  67

Mole & Thomas

Living Portrait of Woodrow Wilson, 1918

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 46

Mole & Thomas

Machine Gun Insignia – Machine Gun Training Center, 1918

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 47

Mole & Thomas

The Human Liberty Bell, 1918

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 48

Mole & Thomas

The Human American Eagle, 1918

            Vintage Silver Gelatin Print  MPH 49

Mole & Thomas

Living Emblem of the United States Marines, 1919

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 50

Mole & Thomas

Living Insignia of the 27th Division, 1919

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 51

Mole & Thomas

Human Statue of Liberty , c. 1918

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 56

sold

Mole & Thomas

The Human U.S. Shield, 1918

            Vintage Silver Gelatin Print  MPH 63

Mayhart Studio Chicago

A Living Flag, 1917

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 64

E.O. Goldbeck

Hawaiian Division – Schofield Barracks, T.H.

Major General WM. R. Smith, 1926

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 45

Photographer Unknown

Entire Personnel 1st Division, Formed a Living Insignia, 1940

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 52

Newman Photo

Animated Crest 34th Division

Camp Cody, New Mexico, 1918

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 54

E.H. Morrison

Official Seal of the 11th Division, c. 1918

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 57

E.O. Goldbeck

Indoctrination Division, Air Training Command, Lackland

Air Base San Antonio, TX, 1947

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 62

Photographer Unknown

Grenzhausen, Germany

1st Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Division, 1919

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 53

Photo Emblem Co.

The Panther Formed by the Faculty and Students of

University of Pittsburgh, 1920

Black & White Photograph

            MPH 55
Photographer Unknown

209th Engineers, Camp Sheridan, ALA, 1919

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 58

Living Flag

Photographer Unknown

1920

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

5 x 7 inches

MPH 61

 

Photographer Unknown

S. 

Late 19th , Early 20th Century

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

MPH 59

Photographer Unknown

F.

Late 19th , Early 20th Century

Vintage Silver Gelatin Print

            MPH 60

 

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.This nation and the world found themselves reeling from the world’s first truly all-encompassing war with mechanized killing on an unparalleled scale, and its aftermath.As hopeful as the ensuing peace might have seemed, the world’s masses still faced unresolved issues left over from war as well as the job of re-building nations, economies, and dealing with the re-entry of hundreds of thousands of military personnel into the everyday fabric of society.

 Within that imposing spectrum, the technology of the early 20th century continued developing, pulling a weary world’s population into one of the most robust rebuilding periods in human history.In the arts, photography, specifically, was of major significance due to its way of attaching technological development to the way we looked at and regarded ourselves as a people.Photography became a new and important means of visual language, establishing itself as the most democratic of communication forms.  The outbreak of World War I and its inherent violence engendered a new commitment by the world's photographers to document every aspect of the fighting, ending an era of In A Patriotic Mole, A Living Photograph, Louis Kaplan, of Southern Illinois University, writes, “The so-called living photographs and living insignia of Arthur Mole [and John Thomas] are photo-literal attempts to recover the old image of national identity at the very moment when the United States entered the Great War in 1917.Mole's [and Thomas’s] photos assert, bolster, and recover the image of American national identity via photographic imaging. Moreover, these military formations serve as rallying points to support U.S. involvement in the war and to ward off any isolationist tendencies.  In life during wartime, [their] patriotic images function as "nationalist propaganda" and instantiate photo cultural formations of citizenship for both the participants and the consumers of these group photographs.”

The monumentality of this project somewhat overshadows the philanthropic magnanimity of the artists themselves.Instead of prospering from the sale of the images produced, the artists donated the entire income derived to the families of the returning soldiers and to this country’s efforts to re-build their lives as a part of the re-entry process.

Eventually, other photographers, appeared on the scene, a bit later in time than the activity conducted by Mole and Thomas, but all were very clearly inspired by the creativity and monumentality of the duo’s production of the “Living” photograph.One of the most notable of those artists was Eugene Omar Goldbeck.He specialized in the large scale group portrait and photographed important people (Albert Einstein), events, and scenes (Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees in his home town, San Antonio) both locally and around the world (Mt. McKinley). Among his military photographs, the Living Insignia projects are of particular significance as to how he is remembered.

 


 

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email:     hammergall@aol.com

phone:     312. 266.8512

fax:           312. 266.8510

 

 

Last updated 07/28/10