This Virginia artist joined the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1930s and helped launch the "Smokey the Bear" campaign in the late '30s -- now the longest running public service campaign in history; he portrayed Smokey in literally hundreds of promotional pieces that encouraged conservation of natural resources and fire prevention. Signed Color Print, 16" X 10¼" (under cream matte, overall dimensions 20" X 16"), n.p., n.y. [ca. 1991]. Fine. Item #45232
Printed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and titled "'High Five' for fire prevention," this print depicts a wooded outdoor scene, a red fire engine in the right foreground driving toward the viewer. One firefighter leans out the passenger window to give a "High Five" to Smokey Bear, who of course stands center foreground, holding a shovel in his left hand and returning the "High Five" with his right. At left foregound is a large pine tree, with a couple of bear cubs clambering up and watching the fire engine, while other wildlife (squirrel, raccoon, cardinal) hang about. At lower left, across part of the red fire engine, Wendelin signs large and bold in black fineline. A handsome piece. The number printed is not stated or generally known, but sources involved in its production indicate that Wendelin signed only a modest number of them. A superb rendition of this beloved character, in flawless condition. Uncommon and most handsome, this is a choice bit of American firefighting history.