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N'oubliez pas Oran! Remember Oran, Original Vichy French WWII Poster

N'oubliez pas Oran! Remember Oran, Original Vichy French WWII Poster

  • ca 1940
  • 22 x 33 7/10 inches ~ (55 x 83 cm)
  • Unbacked

    This poster is currently unbacked. At check out, you will be given the opportunity to add backing which would cost $145 and take approximately 6-8 weeks.

    Linen backing is the industry standard of conservation. Canvas is stretchered and a sheet of acid free barrier paper is laid down. The poster is then pasted to the acid free paper using an acid free paste. This process is fully reversible and gives support to the poster. A border of linen is left around the poster and can be used by a framer to mount the poster so that nothing touches the poster itself. Backing is what we recommend for framing, and for any poster needing restoration.

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  • A drowning French sailor, head and shoulders visible above the waves, grimaces at the viewer and defiantly waves the French tricolour flag above his head. Three approaching battleships are visible on the horizon behind him.

    The British naval bombardment of the French Mediterranean fleet in July 1940 was prompted by strategic necessity but provoked a damaging backlash of anti-British propaganda. Following the armistice between Germany and France and the subsequent creation of the Vichy regime there was a risk that French warships would fall under German control. The British government launched 'Operation Catapult' to persuade the commander of the French naval base at Mers-el-Kebir, off the North African coast at Oran, to put his fleet beyond German reach or to scuttle the ships. The French refused these options and the subsequent British bombardment sank a cruiser and two battleships with the loss of 1,250 French sailors. Vichy France responded with strong propaganda conveying public anger at the loss of life and demonising Churchill as the instigator. The event embittered French attitudes against Britain which, only weeks before, had been an ally. The appeal of the common sailor is a device used by poster designers of other sea-faring nations where an attack on the Navy is felt to be an attack on nationhood. In this case the interest lies in the uncompromising emphasis on the French flag. Appearing just at the moment when French nationhood was in question, this poster is designed to bolster French identity with the new Vichy regime.

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