[Baghdad: S.i., ca.1943-44]. Superb example of this agricultural-themed wartime propaganda poster designed by Iraqi painter Faeq Hassan (1914-1992), widely heralded as "the father of Iraqi modern art." Born poor in Baghdad, Hassan showed an early aptitude for art. When he was 12 he visited his uncle, a gardener in the royal palace for King Faisal I; when the King saw his drawing of a horse drinking from a river, he recognized his talent instantly, and offered him a scholarship. Faisal died in 1933, while Hassan was still in high school, though his successor, King Ghazi, carried out his father's will and send him to the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1935. After returning from Paris Hassan founded Al-Ruwad (The Pioneers Group), a group of Iraqi artists who eschewed the traditional studio atmosphere; while engaging with nature, and choosing the chronicle the daily realities of Iraqi life through their art, the group played a critical role in bridging the gap between heritage and modernity.
Little scholarship exists regarding Hassan's activities or artistic output during World War II, though the present example suggests he put his talents to some use creating home front propaganda after the Anglo-Iraqi War. The poster depicts a male laborer in traditional garb, digging in a field with a bag of seeds tied at his waist, beneath the slogan "If You Plant, You Will Win," flanked by twin V's. Despite the traditional Iraqi setting, the message is similar in tone to the American propaganda campaign encouraging the populace to plant victory gardens to help the war effort. A notably early work by Hassan, and a rare survival, with no examples found in the auction record, and none found in the holdings of any OCLC member institution. cf."Profile: Faik Hassan." Al Jazeera, 30 October, 2005. Original illustrated poster, offset printed in five colors on beige stock, measuring 56.75cm x 72.75cm (22.25" x 28.5"). Signed "FAIK H" (in plate) at lower left corner. Two old folds smoothed out, trivial wear to intersection of folds at center, with a handful of short marginal tears and attendant creases; unbacked; Very Good+.