Signed: Luna. Ministerio de Instrucción Pública, Dirección Gral. de Bellas Artes. Asociación de Obreros Litógrafos. Gráficas Reunidas, U.H.P. Madrid. Lithograph, 3 colors; 100 x 69 cm.
"Issued by the government of the Republic through its Ministry of Public Instruction, this image calls for an increase in the productivity of the land and the factories, which will result in an increased military capacity. The weathered peasant-fighter in the center of the scene is the target of the message expounded by the government, and may also be seen as an example of someone who is responsive to it. During the early part of the war, approximately from the summer of 1936 to the summer of 1937, the areas of Spain where popular resistance to the military rebellion had succeeded were largely controlled by workers' committees. The agrarian and industrial collectivization which these committees often imposed eventually proved unworkable and led to reduced productivity in most areas of the economy (among them grain, fruits and vegetables, all of which are represented in this image). To combat this situation, the central government and other institutions gradually began to call for a more centralized and ordered economy, which was seen as essential for winning the war.
The Ministry of Public Instruction and its agency, the Dirección General de Bellas Artes, were among the most active institutions in the production of propaganda during the war, especially after Jesús Hernández was named to head the ministry on September 4, 1936. Like most of the posters issued by that Ministry, this one can probably be dated between the start of Hernández' tenure in early September, and the time when the government fled the capital for Valencia on November 6 of the same year.
The author of this poster is Antonio Rodríguez Luna (1910-1985). Rodríguez Luna studied in the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Seville before moving to Madrid in 1927, where he became an active participant in avant-garde circles. In 1932, he exhibited his work in the Museum of Modern Art in Madrid. In that year, and again in 1933, he was included in a traveling exhibition organized by one of the leading associations of artists in Spain, the Sociedad de Artistas Ibéricos, which was shown in Copenhagen and Berlin. He was also a part of other important groups of artists formed in Spain at the time, including the Grupo de Arte Constructivo, founded by the Uruguayan painter Joaquín Torres García in 1933. From 1933 to the outbreak of the war in 1936, Rodríguez Luna resided in Barcelona. In the fall of 1934, after the frustrated social revolution that took place in many areas of Spain, he begun to make public statements in favor of a socially conscious and revolutionary art.That same year, he participated in the first Exhibition of Revolutionary Art, which was held in Madrid. He also published drawings and prints in important left-wing periodicals such as El Mono Azul (The Blue Overalls), published a book of drawings, Dieciseis dibujos de guerra (1937), and exhibited his work in the Spanish Pavilion in the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937. After the war, he moved to Mexico and he continued his work as an artist, collaborating with the mural painter Siqueiros and with Renau, who was also in exile there. He exhibited his work in prominent museums and galleries throughout Mexico and the U.S., including an exhibition in the San Diego Museum of Art in 1967. After Franco's death in 1975, Luna returned to Spain. "