Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

La industria, l'agricultura tot per al front

[Industry. Agriculture. Everything for the front]. Carles Fontseré. C.N.T., F.A.I. Lithograph, 3 colors; 31 x 22 cm.

Here, industry is represented by a factory and agriculture, as in several other posters in this exhibit, is represented by a man riding a tractor. Although tractors were quite common in the representation of agriculture, they were actually quite scarce during the years of the Civil War in Republican Spain. The message of the poster is prevalent in many Republican posters. Both the industrial and agricultural sectors of the Cataluñian economy had to be mobilized. Often, the activities of the rearguard were directly associated with or linked to what was happening at the front. Military language was often used metaphorically to create a sense that all of society in Republican Spain was contributing to the war effort.

The mobilization of industry and agriculture in support of the war effort and those fighting at the front was one of the central and immediate problems that the Republican government faced once the insurrection had elevated to a full-blown Civil War. In Cataluña, where this poster was undoubtedly shown since the text is Catalan, the Generalitat took several steps to mobilize and regulate industry and agriculture. These included the creation of a Commission of War Industries on August 8, 1936 followed by the creation of the Economic Council of Catalonia, which created its Plan for the Socialist Transformation of the Nation. Cataluña remains a relatively successful example of mobilization within Republican Spain. Before the war, the region had been a major center of industrial activity and labor unions. In addition, the semi-autonomous status of the regional government, the Generalitat, allowed for quick decision making to get the economy mobilized. In 1937, especially after November, the central government of Republican Spain took aggressive steps to intervene in Cataluña and to expropriate the successful war industries created by the Generalitat. Finally, Cataluña was also a central region for the process of collectivization supported by various groups that hoped for a proletariat revolution to occur in Spain. In both industry and agriculture, collectivization, in which laborers assumed control of factories or arable land, proved to be one of the dominant modes of production during the war. The effect of collectivization, in terms of increased production, remains difficult to determine and is still under debate among the various historical interpreters of the Spanish Civil War.

This is another work by Carlos Fontseré (see also poster 87). Notice that the initials SNP appear underneath his name. These letters are the anagram of the Professional Painters Syndicate (Sindicat de Dibuxants Professionals), which Fontseré helped to establish shortly before the war in April 1936. Little is known about his life before or after the Civil War. 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).

 
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