This is a very interesting drawing which dates to 1940.
It is an original artwork which has been drawn with pen and black ink - with touches of blue crayon or pencil, here and there. The drawing is a unique and rare surviving cartoon by the celebrated British cartoon artist Sidney Strube. He is looking at Charlie Chaplin and the release of his movie masterpiece "The Great Dictator".
Chaplin's film was a stirring condemnation of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Fascism, Antisemitism, and the Nazis. At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin plays both leading roles: a ruthless fascist dictator and a persecuted Jewish barber.
The Great Dictator was popular with audiences, becoming Chaplin's most commercially successful film. Modern critics have also praised it as a historically significant film and an important work of satire. It was nominated for 5 Academy Awards.
BIOGRAPHY: Sidney Strube (1891–1956) was a British cartoonist, who was born in London. He started his artistic career at St Martin's College and then got a job as a junior draughtsman with a furnishing company - and also doing lettering for an advertising agency.
He joined the Daily Express with an exclusive contract - and he worked there until his retirement in 1948. He was one of the country's best-paid political caricature artists and received a huge salary of £10,000 to work exclusively for the Express.
His cartoons for the Express included his character the Little Man, the personification of the "man in the street", which appeared every day on the editorial page. The "Little Man" wore a bowler hat and an umbrella and represented the hard-pressed taxpayer suffering under politicians and vested interests (sound familiar ?)
Strube's career at the paper was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. He joined the army in 1915, becoming a corporal in the Artists' Rifles. He served in France, sending back cartoons from the front - one entitled "Back to Rest" being especially treasured by the Daily Express editorial department, as it was "done with liquid mud from the trenches". On demobilization in December 1918 Strube, still only twenty-six years old, returned to the Daily Express as a political cartoonist, and the paper ran the headline "STRUBE COMES BACK."
Strube cartoons angered Hitler and Mussolini who both had the Daily Express banned in Germany and Italy because of Strube's cartoons of them. They took great exception to Strube’s name, along with many other prominent critics of Hitler’s regime. His name was discovered on a Nazi death list after the war.
This cartoon of Chaplin dreaming about scenes that he might direct in his movie and looking at events in recent German history would obviously not have been popular with the German leader.
Sidney Strube died at his home in Hampstead on 4th March 1956.
His life and career are fully documented in the 2004 publication: The World’s Most Popular Cartoonist by Dr Tim Benson.
Strube's political cartoons are highly collectable with specialist collectors of political caricatures - this one is especially sought after with its contemporary reference to the release of Chaplin's film masterpiece. This work is an original work by Strube - it was probably reproduced in the Express. It is drawn in pen and black ink - with touches of blue pencil to add hints of colour. It is in its original frame - with an old Walter Jones, Sloane Street label on the back. It is signed in the bottom left-hand corner: Strube in his most identifiable signature.
This work is fresh to the market - and is being sold as a genuine original drawing by the artist from 1940. I cannot find Strube doing any other illustrations of Chaplin - so a very rare artwork. The text below the image reads: Charlie Chaplin: "And they all told me it was impossible to play a serious / part with a moustache like mine". He shows Chaplin sitting on a wee chest with scripts, film reels and a megaphone. Above his head in a cloud we can see saluting Brown Shirts, Burning of Books and Hitler dressed in a bicorn hat like Napoleon - to the extreme right are images of the old Kaiser.
CONDITION: The drawing is in pretty good condition with no foxing or staining. No rips or tears. It is unmounted in its original frame. The caricature measures: 34 x 47 cm.
All the history behind this work is taken into consideration with my pricing of this caricature. It is probably an item that should go to a more specialist collector of Strube's works, wartime caricatures, or someone who collects Chaplin memorabilia - on the market, this is a fair price for this interest