"A Map of the World (As Seen by Him.)",
Subject: Cartographic Miscellany, Eastern Hemisphere
Period: 1905 (published)
Publication: Life Magazine
Color: Black & White
8 x 9.8 inches
20.3 x 24.9 cm
This fascinating optical illusion by James Montgomery Flagg appeared on the cover of Life Magazine on 23 March 1905. The map depicts Europe, Africa, and mainland Asia as the coiffure of an apparent Gibson Girl, the personification of American beauty as illustrated by artist Charles Dana Gibson at the turn of the 20th century. The Mediterranean and Red Seas create a hairband, while Madagascar appears as her earring. Southeast Asia is entirely omitted, and Australia and New Guinea float curiously before her. Below the map, the distance scale is labeled as a "scale of smiles." By superimposing an American female figure on top of the eastern hemisphere, these distant lands cease to be so dark and foreign, but rather conjure the alluring mystique of a Gibson Girl. James Montgomery Flagg was an American artist who is perhaps best known for his iconic WWI political poster of Uncle Sam with the motto: "I want you for U.S. Army." On verso are several advertisements.
References: PJ Mode Collection #1148.
Excellent, with minor toning.