Signed drawing. Ink on board. Image measures 16 x 10"
This image confronts the present with a future where science and technology have put Earth in peril. A large crowd of protesters gathered around a pontificating politician holds signs that read "Bring Down the Sats" and "Shake Off the Yoke of Science," presumably referring to the Space Race with the Soviet Union and the accompanying build-up of the American satellite program in the mid-1950s. Above the speaker, a fantastical break in the stormy skies shows a futuristic vision of Earth under attack by satellites, a fear put into the minds of Americans ever since the launch of Sputnik in 1957. A man in the immediate foreground, perhaps the drawing's protagonist, looks back from the speaker and off the page at an unseen but potentially even more alarming sight. The drawing is in good condition with overall toning. Some wear to lower right corner. Artist's notations in pen and pencil on verso.
Paul Orban (1896-1974) was a Hungarian-born artist who got his start as a staff illustrator for the Chicago Sunday Tribune. After moving to New York, he found his calling in pulp magazines and illustrated novels and produced drawings for a wide range of popular print media. Orban is best known for his work in the science-fiction genre, and particularly with regards to space, which in the period of his career in the 1950s, was a salient topic in reality and fantasy alike. Late in life, he redirected his talents toward educational filmstrips and books, harnessing the emotional quality of his work to help children. This original drawing dates from the height of his career and exemplifies the Cold War anxieties of the Space Race.