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Thomas Dewey and Harry Truman
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Exhibition Label
Although the person is the product in most political posters, candidate Henry A. Wallace does not appear in Ben Shahn's 1948 poster for the Progressive Party. Instead, the poster focuses on creating negative, satirical images of Democrat Harry Truman and Republican Thomas Dewey. It was based on a much-publicized photograph of Vice President Truman playing a piano with actress Lauren Bacall lounging seductively on top. Substituting Dewey for Bacall, Shahn cast the political skills of both presidential candidates in a frivolous light, emphasizing the message that "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" in the two major parties. Shahn first produced a painting that served as the backdrop for Wallace's appearance at the Progressive Party's convention in July 1948. It was reproduced in the form of this beautifully printed lithographic poster and distributed nationwide, along with postcards of the image.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Ben Shahn, 12 Sep 1898 - 14 Mar 1969
Amalgamated Lithographers of America, founded 1882
Harry S Truman, 8 May 1884 - 26 Dec 1972
Thomas Edmund Dewey, 25 Mar 1902 - 16 Mar 1971
Color lithographic poster
Image: 109.3 x 71 cm (43 1/16 x 27 15/16")
Sheet: 115.9 × 75.6 cm (45 5/8 × 29 3/4")
Board: 121 × 81 cm (47 5/8 × 31 7/8")
A to G depth: 1 1/2"
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Estate of Ben Shahn/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY