The Visual Front: Posters of the Spanish Civil War from UCSD's Southworth Collection


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Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection



Aixafem el Feixisme

[Smash Fascism]. Attributed to Pere Catalá-Pic. Comissaria de Propaganda de la Generalitat de Catalunya. Lithograph, 2 colors; 100 x 70 cm.

In this poster, a foot clad in an espardenya, the Catalan sandal-is poised to stamp on a concrete swastika, a symbol of Fascism. The message is clear: although the Spanish worker appears vulnerable, he possesses the necessary strength to defeat the enemy. The cobblestone background evokes the streets of Barcelona where, in the first days of the conflict, the people's militias successfully resisted the military insurrectionists' attempt to take control of the city. This was regarded as a first blow against Fascism. While the poster recognizes this-observe the cracks already evident in the swastika-it now urges the worker to continue the struggle and "smash" the enemy completely.

Although often attributed to Pere Catalá Roca, this poster is in fact the work of that artist's father, Pere Catalá-Pic (1889-1971). Catalá-Pic, an avant-garde photographer, experimented with photomontage techniques before the war and wrote a number of essays on the use of photography in propaganda. During the war he took an active role in the Catalan government's propaganda department (Comisaria de Propaganda), which was established on October 6, 1936. The Australian surrealist poet, Mary Low, recalled seeing Catalá-Pic's poster while in Barcelona in 1936. She wrote: "We stood outside the columned portico, in front of us a poster flapped in the rain-a foot in a Catalan sandal crushing a swastika with negligent, unquestioned strength."

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