You've seen this illustration a million times. Flagg, who began his career as a child prodigy, grew and groomed himself into a handsome young man with rakish good looks and a fondness for beautiful women. When the government wanted artists to contribute their skills to propaganda posters, Flagg posed himself in front of a mirror and immortalized himself forever. Four million were printed, beginning in 1917 and the same image was used all over again in World War II to encourage enlistments.
Click on images to enlarge them.
This recruitment poster of 1914 portraying Lord Kitchener by British illustrator Alfred Leete (1882-1933) predated Flagg's poster. It had first appeared in the same year on the cover of London Opinion, a weekly magazine.
I've included some of Flagg's more pedestrian stuff in an earlier post entitled Charles Dana Gibson and His Imitators.
From the December 1906 issue of Scribner's Monthly Magazine.
I had no idea that Flagg was so great a painter. I had heard from my mentor Harold Irving Smith about Flagg's flamboyant behavior and his great theatre friends the Barrymores, but I hadn't seen his fantastic easel work until I bought a copy of Susan E. Meyer's excellent America's Great Illustrators, copyright in 1978 by Harry N. Abrams, New York.
Actress Ethel Barrymore, from America's Great Illustrators, copyright 1978 by Harry N. Abrams, New York.
The Fencer, a large oil on canvas, from America's Great Illustrators, copyright1978 by Harry N. Abrams, New York.