Over Here: World War I Posters from Around the World

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The Boston Athenaeum is one of my very favorite places in the city. The institution was founded more than 200 years ago, and you’ll find many things behind their red doors at 10½ Beacon Street. The building serves as a library, museum, conservation lab, concert space, and lecture room. Membership is required to visit the upper floors of the building (except for art and architecture tours!) or borrow books, however the first floor, including the gallery space, is always open to the public.

The current exhibition, on view until January 31, showcases World War I posters from around the world. Curated by Catharina Slautterback, the Curator of Prints and Photographs, the exhibition is made up entirely of posters from the Athenaeum’s own collection! (Amazingly, the library holds 1,800 World War I posters from 14 countries.) It was absolutely fascinating to see the ways various countries involved in the Great War aimed to convince their citizens to donate to the war cause, enlist, or even be cautious of spies in their midst. Some of the works in the exhibition are so effective that they sent chills up my spine as I imagined their original context.

The exhibition is not to be missed for anyone interested in history, print, or graphic design. The library is open 7 days a week, and entry to the exhibition is $5. For more information of their programs, location, and hours, consult the Boston Athenaeum website.

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Achille Luciano Mauzan (1883-1952), Fate Tutti il Vostro Dovere! Le Sottoscrizioni al Prestito si Ricevono Presso il Credito Italiano, 1917. Color lithograph. Boston Athenaeum. Gift of Bartlett H. Hayes, 1985.

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Unknown Artist, Don’t Stand Looking at This, Go and Help!, 1915. Color lithograph. Adelaide, Australia: Printed by A. Vaughn; Published by the South Australian Government. Boston Athenaeum. Gift of Bartlett H. Hayes, 1985

Images Courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum.

Over Here: World War I Posters from Around the World. $5 entry.  Boston Athenaeum. 10½ Beacon Street, Boston. Monday – Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday, 9am-5:30pm; Saturday, 9am-4pm; Sunday, 12-4pm.

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