A pencil screen print of the iconic Barack Obama Change poster designed by American contemporary artist and graphic designer, Shepard Fairey, in support of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, is to be sold at Bonhams as part of its Urban Art sale on 11 January 2011. It is believed to be one of only 200 prints which were hand-signed and given to members of Obama’s campaign team and has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £1,000 – 1,500.
Fairey created a series of posters for Obama’s candidacy for President of the US, including the better known Hope portrait which featured on the front cover of Esquire magazine in 2009 and was acquired by the US National Portrait Gallery in 2008. Laura Barton (The Guardian) commented that the image ‘acquired the instant recognition of Jim Fitzpatrick’s Che Guevara poster’, while The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl called it ‘the most efficacious American political illustration since ‘Uncle Sam Wants You’’.
Initially the Obama campaign declined to have any affiliation with the posters. However, within weeks of the release of the original version, which featured the word Progress, a new version was requested bearing the caption Hope. Subsequently, future versions, such as Change and Vote,were embraced by the campaign. So much so that Obama wrote to Fairey: “I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of the campaign… I am privileged to be a part of your artwork and proud to have your support”.