Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

Pueblos de Levante! Los hijos, las madres y las compañeras de los heroes de Madrid no deben perecer bajo la metralla y el fuego de los aviones fascistas. Facilitad su evacuación! Haced un hueco cariñoso!

[People of Levante! The children, the mothers, and the friends of the heroes of Madrid should not perish under the shrapnel and fire of the fascist planes. Facilitate their evacuation. Give them a warm corner in your home]. Signed: Renau.. Lithograph, 2 colors; 87 x 110 cm.

This poster addresses a key problem during the siege of Madrid: the need to evacuate the civilian population of the city. As the gloomy sky and the threatening planes in the background of the image suggest, the threat of civilian casualties was very real. The appeal to help the female relatives of the heroes of Madrid is an example of a common motif throughout the civil war posters. While women were instrumental in the war effort both at the front and in the rearguard, their portrayal as victims seems to have been a powerful tool in Republican propaganda. Levante, the area to which this poster directs its appeal, is a region along the coast of eastern Spain. It was among the last parts of Spain to fall to the rebels and was relatively isolated from the fighting. Therefore, Levante was one of the only remaining areas in which evacuees could be relocated. In addition, because the region is made up of rich farmland, it was an important food source for Republican forces. Gregorio Gallego, a Republican supporter who spent some time in Madrid during the war, recalls the disparity between Valencia, the main city in the region, and the capital city of Madrid: "Valencia was a party while Madrid was an agony." Arturo Barea remembers that war posters were among the only reminders in Valencia that a war was going on nearby: "On the wooden platforms overlooking the sands and the sea, where tables had to be booked in advance, the women of the town evacuated from Madrid were fighting a grim battle of competition with their colleagues of Valencia. A wealth of loose cash was spent in hectic gaiety. Legions of people had turned rich overnight, against the background of the giant posters which were calling for sacrifices in the name of Madrid."

Josep Renau, the artist who designed this poster, was one of the most important artists involved in propaganda during the war, and in the politics of the revolution. Renau designed this poster between November 1936, when people began to evacuate Madrid and early 1939, when he left Spain. The fact that neither the issuing entity nor the printing press are identified on this poster makes a more precise dating difficult.

 
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