WHAT YOU WISH US IS ONE THING ; WHAT YOU WILL GIVE US IS ANOTHER.

image91452

Thomas Nast

Artist's Biography

What You Wish Us is One Thing ; What You Will Give Us Is Another.

Wood engraving, 1886.
Image size 10 1/2 x 9 1/4" (26.6 x 23.6 cm).
Good condition.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 91452
Price: $50.00
Publisher : Published by Harper's Weekly. January 2, 1886.
Additional text reads, "Mother Earth. 'Well, what have you in store for my children this year?'"

Gaia sits in an earthen chair, surrounded by her children - a Native American, African, Asian and European. Before them is the ageless, winged messenger of time. In his hand is a paper reading, "I wish you all a Happy New Year." He also holds a book entitled "1886" to depict the coming year, while the old book of "1885" is forgotten behind Gaia's chair. A scythe and hourglass also rest in his arms, representing agriculture and time. In the distance is a pristine landscape, unmolested by the hands of man. Beneath the chair are the skins of a lion and a tiger, perhaps a reference to the taming of Britain, and American politics (Nast has used the tiger to represent the Democratic party in the past).

One can assume the artist made this cartoon to reflect on the irony of the typical New Year's Greeting. Everyone always wishes the world and it's people a "Happy New Year," and perhaps dream of a world like the one illustrated, but what they give is conflict and strife; a world where Gaia's children can never truly be at ease. Even in this cartoon two of the children hold weapons - a sword and a bow - and the messenger's scythe could be viewed as a symbol of death.
18th-19th Century Subjects , Holidays , Miscellaneous

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