Coinciding with the nation's election of its forty-fourth president, this exhibition contains Herbert Block's original drawings of presidential cartoons from Franklin Roosevelt through Bill Clinton. Although respectful of the office, Block insisted that no president was "above caricature or comment." For him, the political cartoon was "essentially a means for poking fun, for puncturing pomposity."
Herblock's cartoons were expressive of a distinct political view. Throughout his career, Block sided with those presidents whose policies favored government intervention on behalf of the "underdog." He embraced Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal; he was also an early supporter of U.S. intervention in World War II and remained a staunch internationalist. Block's political cartoons appeared in American newspapers for more than seven decades, but he achieved his greatest prominence as the editorial cartoonist of the Washington Post, where he worked from 1946 until his death in 2001.
"Herblock's Presidents" presents only Block's negative images of the presidents. As Block saw it, in some cases, a forceful, negative reaction could do the most good. He viewed the role of the political cartoonist as someone who kicked "the big boys who kick the underdogs." In "Herblock's Presidents," Block goes after some very "big boys."
This exhibition has been made possible by a generous grant from The Herb Block Foundation.
All cartoons are from the Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
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