Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

Al front!

[To the front!]. Carles Fontseré. C.N.T., F.A.I. Lithograph, 3 colors; 32 x 22 cm.

The soldier on the poster is bathed in a revolutionary red light as the text proclaims: "To the Front!" Simple and to the point, this poster was undoubtedly a recruiting poster for CNT and FAI in the region of Cataluña in Republican Spain. Given that the CNT and FAI fell out of favor with an increasingly communist-influenced government headed by Juan Negrín and subsequently lost political power in Republican Spain with the disbanding of the Council of Aragon in September of 1937, this poster can be dated to sometime during the fifteen months of the Civil War prior to September 1937.

The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) was organized in 1911 and soon became the largest worker's organization in Spain. The Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) was formed in Valencia in 1927 and was known as the radical, ultra-left inner core of the CNT. With its goal of creating a revolution modeled on the Russian Revolution of 1917, many members of the FAI or faistas were wary about the concessions the CNT made to the socialist government of Republican Spain. Faistas were also critical of the dilution of FAI revolutionary political goals as it and the CNT joined with other more moderate groups under the banner of antifascism. During the civil war, both the CNT-FAI fared well in the first year of the Civil War, the militia of the FAI became the Army of Aragon giving the FAI powerful influence in that region of Republican Spain. In addition, the CNT and FAI held effective control over the Antifascist Militia Committee. However, the tide began to turn for the CNT and the FAI, in particular, after a series of key losses to Nationalist troops brought criticism to the FAI militias. In addition, separatists and others members of the Antifascist Militias Committee began to combine the Army of Aragon with the regular Republican Army effectively depriving the FAI of its paramilitary identity and power base.

Carlos Fontseré was a Catalan painter born in 1916. Little is known about his life before or after the Civil War. He was a founding member of the Sindicat de Dibuixants Professionals (Syndicate of Professional Painters) established in April 1936. In 1977, he wrote a short history of the organization as an appendix to a work on Republican Posters from the Spanish Civil War entitled Carteles de la República y de la Guerra Civil. During the war, Fontseré worked as an artist for the Generalitat de Cataluña, FAI (Federación Anarquista Ibérica), POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), CNT, PSU (Partido Socialista Unificada), UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores) and SRI (Socorro Rojo Internacional). Another example of Fontseré's work in this exhibit is poster 88.

 
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