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Hitler-Headed Serpent in Bombarded Landscape

after 1939 Fred Campbell oil on canvas 26 1/8 x 28 3/4 in. (66.5 x 72.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.148 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 24A


Luce Center Label

Fred Campbell probably painted this violent image towards the end of World War II. The serpent was a popular wartime symbol of Hitler, comparing him to Satan in the Garden of Eden (Lynda Hartigan, Made with Passion, 1990). Planes fly overhead, dropping bombs on the buildings, while a small figure stands on the winged serpent with a chain around Hitler’s neck. The identity of this barely clothed man remains a mystery, and it is difficult to tell whether he is controlling the dictator or torturing him.

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - ruins

Architecture - vehicle - airplane

Fantasy - animal - snake

Figure male - full length

Landscape - imaginary

Portrait male - Hitler, Adolf - head

State of being - evil - war

painting

folk art

paint - oil

fabric - canvas