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  • Literature

    Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann 357

  • Catalogue Essay


    The New Spirit was a World War II propaganda animated short film created by Walt Disney Studios in 1942 and sponsored by the United States Department of the Treasury. In 1943 the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film begins with Donald Duck dancing to a patriotic song. Afterward, a radio announcer tells about the new patriotic spirit and asks Donald if he was willing to do his part. Donald asserts his loyalty and begs to know how best to do it. However, Donald’s enthusiasm instantly fades when the radio announcer advises he pay his income tax promptly. The announcer then changes the duck’s mind by stressing the need for the funds for the war effort with the slogan, “Taxes to beat the Axis”. Sufficiently motivated, the announcer guides Donald, with the help of a talking pen, inkwell and blotter, on how to properly fill out his simplified tax form. With the bureaucratic task completed, the announcer urges Donald to mail his payment to the Federal government at once and Donald enthusiastically and literally races across the nation to Washington D.C. to deliver it in person. Reportedly, when Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. learned that Walt Disney proposed using Donald Duck as the feature character of the film, he insisted that a generic “Mr. Taxpayer” be used instead. However, Disney persuaded Morgenthau and President Franklin D. Roosevelt that the film would be more effective with a popular and familiar character. The popular reaction of the film led to a dramatic increase of prompt taxation payments by the public. Warhol was a teenager when this short was released and a regular attendee of movies. In 1985 it was probably a bit nerdy to choose an ad for a World War II documentary. In 2011, with the United States engaged in numerous wars, Warhol’s prophecy has never rung more true.

  • Artist Biography

    Andy Warhol

    American • 1928 - 1987

    Known as the “King of Pop,” Andy Warhol was the leading face of the Pop Art movement in the United States in the 1960s. Following an early career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol achieved fame with his revolutionary series of silkscreened prints and paintings of familiar objects like Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed with popular culture, celebrity, and advertising, Warhol created his slick, seemingly mass-produced images of everyday subject matter from his famed Factory studio in New York City. His use of mechanical methods of reproduction, notably the commercial technique of silk screening, wholly revolutionized art-making.

    Working as an artist, but also director and producer, Warhol produced a number of avant-garde films in addition to managing the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founding Interview magazine. A central figure in the New York art scene until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol was notably a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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43

Ads: The New Spirit (Donald Duck)

1985
Screenprint in colors, on Lenox Museum Board, the full sheet,
S. 37 7/8 x 37 3/4 in. (96.2 x 95.9 cm)
signed and numbered 114/190 in pencil (there were also 30 artist's proofs), published by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Inc., New York, a spot of slight soiling at lower right, a repaired tear at lower right (with associated ink loss and soiling in the surrounding area), cracking in the pale yellow and bright pink inks near the center right sheet edge, varying degrees of creasing in the corners and occasional nicks at the sheet edges (with associated minor ink loss), otherwise in very good condition, framed.

Estimate
$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $27,500

Evening Editions

21 April 2011
New York