Revere Auctions
Live Auction

January Day 2: Postwar & Contemporary Art

Wed, Jan 25, 2023 11:00AM EST
Lot 589

James Montgomery Flagg Uncle Sam WC on Paper

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$300 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
$500,000 $25,000
$1,000,000 $50,000
$10,000,000 $100,000
James Montgomery Flagg (American, 1877-1960). Original watercolor on paper depicting Uncle Sam with a banner reading "You Want Me!," 1960. Signed along the lower left. This painting is the last Uncle Sam illustration executed by Flagg before his death. With a signed photograph.

Provenance: Acquired by the present owner from the collection of Gerald E. Czulewicz Sr.

Literature: Gerald E. Czulewicz Sr., "The Foremost Guide to Uncle Sam Collectibles," Plate 325.

James Montgomery Flagg was born in New York in 1877. He fell in love with art at an early age, and by age 15 he was a staff artist for Judge and Life magazines. As his career continued, he became immensely successful as a commercial artist, perfectly blending artistic aptitude with a keen sense of humor. He became a favorite of the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and frequented Hearst’s parties, sketching his guests. He was well known for his illustrations and pin ups, as well as for his serious paintings, which were exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1900. Of all the works from his long and wide-ranging career, Flagg is best known for a series of commissions he did for the U.S. Government, starting in 1917, depicting Uncle Sam. The first of these, the “I Want You” poster, is one of the most iconic artworks in U.S. history.

The present artwork, executed in May of 1960, is known to be the final Uncle Sam drawn by Flagg during his lifetime. It depicts a slightly looser drawing of Uncle Sam than most of Flagg’s earlier works, but retains the intensity that distinguishes Flagg’s depictions of Uncle Sam. The banner’s text reads “You Want Me!” and Uncle Sam points to himself, likely an indication of patriotism. It is a fitting end to a series for Flagg, the man who solidified one of America’s most beloved national symbols.

(Watercolor) Sight; Height: 10 1/2 in x width: 7 3/4 in. Framed; Height: 24 1/2 in x width: 21 1/2 in. (Photo) Sight; Height: 9 1/2 in x width: 7 1/2 in. Framed; Height; 18 1/4 in x width: 15 1/4 in.


The artwork is mounted to a backing along all four edges; unable to view the verso. The sheet is toned. There are several restored tears along the top quarter of the artwork. The restoration has become somewhat discolored. There are no other restorations. There are four losses to the edges and corners of the sheet. There are three creases that extend the entire width of the artwork along the center third. There are handling creases throughout. There are some areas of smudging to the graphite in the artwork. There are several spots of yellow pigment to the center of the watercolor, possibly original to the artistic process. The artwork is framed under glass; some wear to the frame. The photograph shows multiple cracks and breaks along the lower third. No visible tears or losses; not inspected out of the frame. Please contact us for a detailed condition report. Please note that the lack of a condition statement does not imply perfect condition. Email with any condition questions.

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