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"When men can freely communicate their thoughts and their sufferings, real or imaginary, their passions spend themselves in air, like gunpowder scattered upon the surface; but pent up by terrors, they work unseen, burst forth in a moment, and destroy everything in their course."--Thomas Erskine, on the Advantages of Free Speech, Rex v. Paine, 1792. From the series Great Ideas of Western Man.

1954 Paul Rand Born: New York, New York 1914 Died: Norwalk, Connecticut 1996 crayon, nail, and photomechanical reproduction on wood 9 3/4 x 7 x 1 1/4 in. (24.7 x 17.6 x 3.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Container Corporation of America 1984.124.242 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 50A


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"When men can freely communicate their thoughts and their sufferings, real or imaginary, their passions spend themselves in air, like gunpowder scattered upon the surface; but pent up by terrors, they work unseen, burst forth in a moment, and destroy everything in their course."--Thomas Erskine, on the Advantages of Free Speech, Rex v. Paine, 1792. From the series Great Ideas of Western Man.
from American Art staff

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"The sources of pictorial ideas are without limit: a visit to the museum, a casual glance at a picture postcard or shop window, or something seen the day before in a book or newspaper are potential sources of information." Paul Rand, "A Designer's Art," 1985 "When men can freely communicate their thoughts and their sufferings, real or imaginary, their passions spend themselves in air, like gunpowder scattered upon the surface; but pent up by terrors, they work unseen, burst forth in a moment, and destroy everything in their course." Thomas Erskine, on the advantages of free speech, Rex v. Paine (1792)

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Paul Rand created this collage to illustrate a quote by Thomas Erskine for the Container Corporation of America. The inspiration for the design came from a painting in a book on Etruscan art, which depicted the profile of a face with what the artist described as "haunting eyes." Rand drew a face with wide, staring eyes and covered mouth to suggest an individual who is unable to speak. The image evokes a sense of despair or fear, emphasizing the importance of free speech.

Keywords

Figure - fragment - eye

Literature - Erskine, Thomas - On the Advantages of Free Speech

sculpture

crayon

metal - nails

wood

About Paul Rand

Born: New York, New York 1914 Died: Norwalk, Connecticut 1996

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