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James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960)

James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960)

An illustrator, cartoonist and portrait painter strongly influenced by John Singer Sargent, James Montgomery Flagg contributed to a golden age of American illustration, alongside contemporaries such as Howard Chandler Christy, J C Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell. He was the creator of one of the most famous and reproduced poster illustrations of all time, the iconic Uncle Sam ‘I Want YOU’ recruitment poster.

James Montgomery Flagg was born in Pelham Manor, New York, on 18 June 1877. At the age of 12, he sold his first drawing to the magazine, St Nicholas, and by the age of 15, he was a staff cartoonist for
Judge and Life, then two of America’s most popular and successful periodicals. In 1894, he enrolled at the Art Students League in New York City, where he studied until 1898. Whilst a student in New York, he began to feature prominently on the city’s social scene, as a member of the Lotos Club, The Players Club, the Dutch Treat Club and the Society of Illustrators.

In 1898, Flagg travelled to England to continue his studies at the Herkomer School in Bushey, Hertfordshire.

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