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Sailor beware! Loose talk can cost lives

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    United States (made)

  • Date:

    1942 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Falter, John, born 1910 (designer)
    British and American Ambulance Corps. (issued by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:

    E.592-2004

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case Y, shelf 62, box E

This American poster reflects the anxiety felt in Britain, that 'good time girls' were out to corrupt young innocent servicemen. The woman exudes seductiveness; her loose blonde hair tossed over her shoulder, the red of her sweater, lips and nails, her gold bracelet, even her stance, connote her sexuality and power. She stands taller than the sailor, embracing him, or entrapping him, with both arms, and her expression is cunning He smiles vacantly back at her, his hand clutching her arm, but despite his countenance, the gesture is obscure and it is unclear whether he is returning her embrace or involuntarily pushing her away. The poster warns 'Sailor beware!', making clear that it is his duty to resist.

Physical description

'Sailor beware!', World War II careless talk poster depicting a sailor and a blonde woman. Both are pictured from the waist up, against a green background; the rest of the poster is buff-coloured. The woman, who is wearing a red dress and has red lips and blonde hair is embracing a uniformed American sailor. Above the image is the slogan, 'Sailor beware!', and below the image, printed in black on a pale blue 'banner', 'Loose Talk Can Cost Lives'.

Place of Origin

United States (made)

Date

1942 (made)

Artist/maker

Falter, John, born 1910 (designer)
British and American Ambulance Corps. (issued by)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

'Sailor beware!'
Above the image, in black letters

'LOOSE TALK / CAN COST LIVES'
Below the image, printed in black against a blue tape or banner

'JOHN FALTER. . . -'
Along the lower edge of the image, immediately below the sailor's hand, in green ink

'© 1942'
Date, in lower left corner

'DISTRIBUTED IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL DEFENCE, AND AS A MEANS OF OBTAINING FUNDS FOR AMBULANCES WHEREVER NEEDED, BRITISH AND AMERICAN AMBULANCE CORPS, INC., 420 LEXINGTON AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY'
distribution details, running along the lower edge of the poster, in white border, printed in black

'ART'
Symbol made of an eagle's head, forming the letter 'a', with the letters 'ART' below, within a squared oval

'LITHO IN U.S.A.'
Along edge in lower left corner, printed in black

Dimensions

Height: 50.8 cm, Width: 35.5 cm

Descriptive line

'Sailor beware!', World War II careless talk poster depicting a sailor and a blonde woman, by John Falter, issued by British and American Ambulance Corps., 1942

Materials

Paper; Ink

Techniques

Lithography

Subjects depicted

Cosmetics; Women; Men; Sailors; Propaganda; Jewellery; Femininity; Insignia; Espionage; Uniforms; War; Security

Categories

Prints; Propaganda; Posters

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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