Auction 178, Lot 34

"Myths, Maps, & Men - Merrill Lynch Salutes the Year of the Moon",

Subject: Moon

Period: 1969 (dated)


Color: Printed Color

16.6 x 14.1 inches
42.2 x 35.8 cm

Michael Ramus' pictorial map of the moon was created to commemorate the first two manned lunar landings in 1969 on 20 July and 19 November, which were achieved by the Apollo 11 and 12 space missions. Commissioned by New York bank Merrill Lynch as a promotional hand-out, this piece intermingles science and fiction to create a whimsical and broadly appealing map. At the center is the Saturn V rocket, which launched the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins into space. Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon, and his famous words,"One small step for a man ... one giant leap for mankind" appear in a banner above, held aloft by a giant bald eagle. Riding astride the bald eagle are three U.S. Presidents who supported the space program: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon.

The moon is shown in two hemispheres representing the "Far Side" and the "Near Side" with the Apollo 11 and 12 landings illustrated on the "Near Side," and the "Far Side" making note of the Russian lunar missions. The hemispheres are rendered with accurate topography while the so-called "seas" are filled with mythical sea creatures. Just outside the hemispheres are Selene, the Greek Goddess of the Moon, and the famous nursery rhyme's cow jumping over the moon. Along the top of the sheet are depictions of the phases of the moon flanked by medallions representing the Apollo 11 and 12 missions. Just below the hemispheres are illustrations of various achievements in astronomy and flight, including Galileo observing the moon with a telescope and the transatlantic flights of the Wright Brothers and Charles Lindberg, as well as eccentric images, such as Halloween imagery and Romeo and Juliet (likely a reference to Juliet asking Romeo to "swear not by the moon"). A stock ticker tape stretches across the image as a reminder of Merrill Lynch's investment opportunities.

Two drape-style cartouches at bottom ask "How will we remember 1969?" and "How will we strive with 1970?" While the memory of 1969 was dominated by achieving "human footprints on the moon," Merrill Lynch commits to helping you "speedily and safely reach your goal" in 1970 and beyond.

Michael Ramus (1917-2005) was an American illustrator and cartoonist who studied at the Art Students' League in New York prior to serving 4 years in the US Military during WWII. During his military career he created several prize-winning posters for the Women's Army Corps and the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, and after his service illustrated for numerous U.S. magazines, including Life, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, Reader's Digest, Collier's, and American Heritage.

References: Hornsby (Picturing America) #158; Kanas (3rd Edition) #11.17; Rumsey #8895.

Condition: A+

A crisp example, issued folding on pink-colored paper.

Estimate: $600 - $800

Sold for: $700

Closed on 6/10/2020