Auction News

Viral Obama “hope” poster original up for grabs


Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

An original of the 2008 Barack Obama “Hope” image is being sold at auction.

The picture, originally by street artist, Shepard Fairey, was shared and reproduced perhaps billions of times and has since been parodied, memed and remixed in almost as many ways.

The image was constructed from a press photograph of then Senator Barrack Obama by Asociated Press photographer Mannie Garcia. Fairey stylized the image, adding an official sunburst campaign logo, and echoing the visual feel of Soviet political posters.

The image was adopted by the Obama campaign as an official campaign image for the victorious 2008 presidential campaign.

The image of Obama is one of the most iconic political portraits ever produced.

Fairey’s dedication to the ethics of his street art background – putting the image on posters, t-shirts, and sharing it free online – meant the picture went everywhere.

Fairey was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1970. He has been an active artist since 1984. In 2001 he Obey clothing brand. His work is in many museum collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Journalist Peter Schjeldahl described the image as “the most efficacious American political illustration since ‘Uncle Sam Wants You'”.

Fairey originally made 3 collages of the image. One is in the Smithsonian Instituteion National Portrait Gallery. The second sold in May 2022 to a private buyer at auction.

The final example is now up for at Heritage Auctions sale with an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000 and an opening bid of $250,000. The sale closes on May 14.

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