1917 Our Navy Aviation Corps Needs Harold Von Schmidt Extremely Rare
1917 Our Navy Aviation Corps Needs Harold Von Schmidt Extremely Rare
1917 Our Navy Aviation Corps Needs Harold Von Schmidt Extremely Rare

1917 Our Navy Aviation Corps Needs Harold Von Schmidt Extremely Rare

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Date: 1917
Artist: Von Schmidt, Harold
Size (in): 42" x 26.875"
Size (cm): 106.7 x 68.3
Condition: B
Linen backed: Yes

This antique original and very rare United States Navy Aviation Corps recruiting poster was created by California born artist Harold Von Schmidt during the First World War. Von Schmidt features the image of a US Navy biplane strafing German U-boat SM U-53. U-53, commanded by Hans Rose, was never sunk or captured and was one of the most highly decorated German U-boats of the First World War sinking 88 Allied ships during the war including the USS Jacob Jones.

This poster illustrates the types of job skills and trades the US Navy Aviation Corps was seeking and is one the first pieces of commissioned artwork completed by Harold Von Schmidt who would go on to have a long and prolific career as a top American commercial artist and illustrator. Harold Von Schmidt was born in Alameda, California in 1893 and began attending the California School of Arts and Crafts while still in high school. This poster issued shortly after the United States entered the First World War in 1917 would have been created by Von Schmidt when he was about 24 years. By 1924 Von Schmidt had left California and was enrolled in the Grand Central School of Art in New York City and from there would go on to join the artist colony at New Rochelle, New York that included leading illustrators Norman Rockwell, Joseph C. Leyendecker and Mead Shaeffer among its residents at the time.

Von Schmidt’s name along with the date 1917 appears in the lower left-hand corner of the image and the logo of the Galloway Litho. Company of San Francisco appears in the lower right hand corner of the image. At the time the United States entered WWI in 1917 it had one naval air station at Pensacola and only about 38 naval aviators so the need for skilled workers was urgent. This poster was created by a California artist and printed in San Francisco and probably didn’t see distribution much beyond the West Coast of the United States which helps explains its extreme rarity and why we locate only one copy on Worldcat and trace none at auction.

This poster has been professionally linen backed with some touch up and small repairs. A few pieces of desiccated cello tape on the back of the poster were expertly removed and neutralized before the poster was linen backed. The poster retains strong color and displays beautifully. Overall condition is very good.

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