Mai 68, 'Hitler/De Gaulle', Screenprint, 1968

'Hitler/De Gaulle', Screenprint, 1968

Bearing stamp.

'The Arts-Déco’s “De Gaulle Hitler,” known as “the abominable poster,” was printed in late June, towards the end of the movement “when the police were hitting really hard.” Printed in heavy black ink on white paper, Hitler is shown holding up a mask of De Gaulle’s face and wearing a Gaullist arm-band in place of his Nazi regalia. The message is clear, though unwritten: De Gaulle is Hitler. The images of De Gaulle and Hitler are produced realistically, without caricature or distortion. They are in no way cartoonish.

De Gaulle had already been the subject of many other 68er posters: some funny, some malicious, most of them caricatures presenting the General with his gourd-like nose and a street cop’s képi. To the ateliers, De Gaulle was “authority and the past", “power, the army, and morality.”

“De Gaulle Hitler” broke the mold. Bernard notes that the poster “was insupportable because it was a realistic poster—and, in ’68 there were few realistic posters.” Beaux-Arts artists were quick to condemn it, smugly asserting: “It could never have been printed at the Beaux-Arts,” because “it wasn’t correct, politically or historically.” In other words, the Beaux-Arts assembly would not have approved this poster. At the Arts-Déco, however, poster artists isolated on the fourth floor from the general meeting below decided what posters would be produced.

“It was stupid, and we let it happen!” Miehe says. “I had been against it but at the time we weren’t afraid of anything.” He believes the poster was not designed to shock. “Some people really believed De Gaulle was the same as Hitler. Some people thought it was true.”

Bernard did not think so, but in 1968 "I printed it because I thought it was fabulous. The image was incredibly violent and not politically correct, but it was very, very effective. Very, very effective. There was an unwholesome jubilation in the printing of it."

Quotation - from Gene Tempest's thesis on Mai 68 posters

Paper Size 116 x 85 cm
Reference '500 Affiches de Mai 68', Gasquet, p. 117
Collection V & A

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