Thursday, November 21, 2013

“Keep Politics Out of the Picture”

While poking around the archives the other week, I found a large rolled-up canvas. We didn’t have enough room to unroll it in the stacks, so I brought it downstairs to see what it was. It measures about 4.5 x 12 feet.
 The Doctors small

The painting is a copy of a famous Victorian-era painting called “The Doctor” by Luke Fildes, R.A. (Royal Academy). It was commissioned by Sir Henry Tate (Tate Museum) and was painted in 1891. image

In 1949, Fildes' The Doctor was used by the American Medical Association in a campaign against a proposal for nationalized medical care put forth by President Harry S. Truman. The image was used in posters and brochures along with the slogan, "Keep Politics Out of this Picture" implying that involvement of the government in medical care would negatively affect the quality of care. More than 65,000 posters of The Doctor were displayed, which helped to raise public skepticism for the nationalized health care campaign.

My suspicion is that this mural is a remnant of this campaign. It was clearly adhered to a wall, as evidenced by the remains of adhesive on the back of it. Additionally, there seems to have been a frame around it, judging by the fading on the paint.

The mural is signed, but we can’t find any information about the painter. If you know anything, please leave a note in the comments.

 sig block

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