Kenyon College

Back Him Up! Buy War Bonds!


Artist: Thomas Hart Benton
Title of Work: Back Him Up! Buy War Bonds!
Year: 1943
Dimensions: 11.5″ x 8.25″
Material: Offset lithography/ink on paper
Photo Line: The College of Wooster Art Museum
Collection Credit: The College of Wooster Art Museum 1949.122.

In the midst of World War II, the support of civilians was crucial to the success of the American army. Thomas Hart Benton, a leading artist of the time, created this propaganda poster to promote the purchase of war bonds, by linking themes of war to America’s heartland. In his image, the farmer transforms into the fighting soldier on the front lines. By buying war bonds, it implies, the average civilian can be an active part of the overseas action. One fluid line, from the helmet of the soldier through the civilians’ arms, formally unites them in the war effort. The strong highlights, heavily modeled figures and flowing lines of the image create an unsettling landscape. Aimed at encouraging homeland support for the war effort, Benton presented the public with a propagandistic image that argued for unity in the face of danger.

–Sophia Yablon ‘12 Gund Gallery Associate