DONATION OF RARE HUGO GELLERT PORTFOLIO TO THE WOLFSONIAN LIBRARY
We are delighted to be able to recognize the donation of an extraordinarily rare oversized portfolio to the Wolfsonian library collection by Elinor Brecher of Miami, Florida. Entitled, Century of the Common Man: two speeches by Henry A. Wallace, this portfolio contains double-page plates with excerpts of Vice President Henry Wallace’s speech and full-page silk-screened illustrations on the facing pages drawn by artist/activist Hugo Gellert (American, born in Hungary, 1892-1985). The portfolio was published in a limited edition of fifty-four, numbered and autographed by the artist. Hugo Gellert was an unabashedly outspoken member of the Communist Party of the United States of America and he lent all of his artist talents to championing that political cause.
This particular portfolio was published during the brief period of cordial U.S.-Soviet relations following the German invasion of Russia during the Second World War. After the invasion, Stalin deemed it expedient to seek the support of any and all left-leaning, liberal and “Popular Front” groups arrayed against the fascists. This latest donation joins two other oversized portfolios illustrated with lithographs by Gellert: Karl Marx Capital in Pictures and Comrade Gulliver: an Illustrated Account of Travel into that Strange Country the United States of America. These poster-sized portfolios comprise three of some thirty-four Gellert titles in our library. Several of his works were exhibited in a display organized by two Florida International University students last fall, and can be seen on line in a virtual display of their exhibition presently on view on the second floor of the Green Library on the Modesto Maidique Campus or accessible at the following web address:
Our thanks go out to Elinor Brecher for her generosity in donating this wonderful portfolio. As a repository with a wide range of Gellert materials in our collection, we hope to be able to organize an exhibition sometime in the future that will make these materials presently available to visiting scholars in our library, accessible to the general public visiting our galleries as well.