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A striking c. 1940 image by the listed Russian-American Jewish portrait artist Morris J. Kallem. The image features a globe centered on the Pacific floating in space. Above it is a demonic skeletal figure with a Nazi swastika and Hitler-style toothbrush moustache apparently consuming the spirit of the Earth, or more specifically, Europe. This work is unusual for Kallem, who typically focused on portraiture and the occasional landscape. On many levels it is by far his most striking and innovative work.
The drawing is composed in scratch work, a technique wherea thick black wash is applied to white paper then meticulously scratched off to create the image, giving it, in effect, the appearance of an etching.
Morris J. Kallem (1889 - March 15, 1953) was New York City based portrait artist active during the first half of the 20th century. Kallem was initially based in Pennsylvania where he studied at the Graphic Sketch Club and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He relocated to New York City in 1925 and is best known for issuing numerous portraits for the New York Times, including images of Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Chiang Kai-shek, and other. In addition, he produced landscapes, still lifes, and figure subjects. His work was prominently exhibited at gallery showings in New York and Philadelphia. He is listed in Davenport, Castango, and other references. (Castango, John, American Artists: Signatures and Monograms, 1800 – 1989, 1990.)
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