SCHNEIDER, LORRAINE. 1925-1972.
Etched print, Primer ("War is not healthy for children and other living things"), 2 x 2 inches, 1966, titled and signed "LS" in pencil below etching, numbered "80/200," fine.
Exhibited: Autry National Center, Los Angeles, May 2013-June 2014.
Provenance: estate of Lorraine Schneider.
ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC ANTI-WAR IMAGES TO EMERGE FROM THE VIETNAM ERA. The simple image of a sunflower with the equally simple but profoundly powerful statement "War is not healthy for children and other living things," was originally created by Los Angeles artist Lorraine Schneider for a miniature print contest at Pratt. It has since become one of the most reproduced and recognizable anti-war statements of the modern era. Schneider granted the use of the image to the anti-war organization Another Mother for Peace; as writer, peace activist, and Another Mother founding member Barbara Avedon recounts, "On February 8, 1967 fifteen friends met at our house to discuss 'doing something' about the war in Vietnam ... We decided to send a Mother's Day card to Washington. We would print and distribute one thousand letters of protest that said in a very ladylike fashion 'For my Mother's Day gift this year I don't want candy or flowers. I want an end to killing. We who have given life must be dedicated to preserving it. Please talk peace' ... I called Lorraine and asked if we could use Primer on the face of the card. She sad yes, and one thousand cards became two hundred thousand cards. And because of her genius 'Another Mother for Peace' was born" (Lorraine Art Schneider ... An Illustrated Catalogue p xi). The card was presented and read on air by the Smothers Brothers during their "Comedy Hour" a week before Mother's Day 1967, with viewers instructed to write if they would like a copy of the card an act which incensed CBS executives, and launched the image and slogan on its path to ubiquity.
The present example was exhibited at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles from May 2013 - January 2014. Poster versions frequently appear in exhibitions of protest art, most recently at the Century of the Child exhibition at MOMA in 2012.
"The effect of that tiny etching upon people all over the world is incalculable ... Copies have appeared on greeting cards, jewelry, bumper stickers, posters and stamps, to mention only a few areas of distribution. It has become a symbol of peace throughout the world" (ibid, p xv).