Sidney Riesenberg

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Sidney Riesenberg
Born Sidney Harry Riesenberg
Chicago, Illinois[1]
Died 1971 (aged 85–86)
Cambridge, Massachusetts [1]
Education School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Known for
  • oil painting
  • illustration
Notable work Over the Top for You

Sidney Harry Riesenberg (1885 – 1971) was a landscape painter and illustrator from Chicago best known for his posters for the United States Marine Corps and the Liberty bond programs.


Riesenberg was born in 1885 in Chicago. He was educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was recognized for the quality of his oil compositions.[2] He later moved to Yonkers in 1905 to continue his career.[3] In the early 1930s, he began doing illustration work for magazines.[3] In the 1930s and 1940s, his work was often featured at venues such as the National Academy of Design and in organizations such as the Allied Artists of America.[4] Riesenberg was also the vice president of the Yonkers Art Association.[5] Riensenberg died in 1971 in Massachusetts.

Riesenberg had an older brother, Felix, who was a maritime officer in the United States Naval Reserve and a writer,[6] and was the subject of one of his portraits in 1947.[7]


Over the Top For You, one of Riesenberg's WWI-era posters advertising liberty loans, where a doughboy clutches the American flag.
A Jewish Welfare Board World War I poster by Riesenberg, c. 1918

Of Riesenberg's work, his contributions during World War I are most noted[8] and he is described as "one of the greatest illustrators of the World War I era."[9][10] Riensenberg's style shows influences from Impressionism.[4]

He produced many posters for the Marines in addition to posters advertising the Liberty Loan campaign during World War I. One of Riesenberg's most notable works is his 1918 World War I-era poster, Over the Top for You, which depicts a young doughboy clutching the American flag. With its bold illustration and concise text, like many war posters of the time, Over the Top for You encouraged the public to support its military by purchasing liberty loans.[11] Amongst other posters, it was selected to display in the Smithsonian American Art Museum under the exhibit, Over the Top: American Posters from World War I.[11] Riesenberg also created several posters for the United States Navy, one of which, titled Demoncracy's Vanguard, illustrates Marines landing from a boat to initiate an offensive. Others depicted uniformed members raising the flag and walking amidst a background of warship.[12]

Riesenberg also created artwork for several publications such as covers for Harper's[13] and illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post.[4] He was also noted for his work depicting the Old West.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b "Sidney H. Riesenberg". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Oliver, Maude I. G. (1906). "Recent Work at the Art Institute of Chicago". The International Studio (John Lane Company) 29: cv. 
  3. ^ a b Spanierman, Ira (2004). Art for the new collector III: re-emerging American artists. New York, N.Y.: Spanierman Gallery. p. 65. ISBN 094593663X. 
  4. ^ a b c "Sidney Harry Riesenberg". AskArt. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  5. ^ The Yonkers Art Association. Yonkers, New York: Hudson River Museum. 1940. p. 5. 
  6. ^ Saunders, David. "SIDNEY RIESENBERG". Pulp Artists. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Living Again: An Autobiography, by Felix Riesenberg". Neglected Books. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Heritage Auctions Illustration Art Auction Catalog #7001. Heritage Auctions, Inc. 2008. p. 88. ISBN 1599672901. 
  9. ^ Marling, Karal Ann (2004). Old Glory: Unfurling History. Bunker Hill Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 1593730195. 
  10. ^ Hinrichs, Kit; Delphine, Hirasuna (2013). Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag. Random House. ISBN 0307816737. 
  11. ^ a b "Over the Top: American Posters from World War I". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Wilson, Louis N. (1918). The war collection at Clark university library, Volume 6. Worcester, Massachusetts: Clark University Press. p. 46. 
  13. ^ Burnham, Robert (2000). Great Comets. Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 171. ISBN 0521646006. 
  14. ^ Carr, Nick; Carr, compiled by Nick (1989). The western pulp hero: an investigation into the psyche of an American legend. Mercer Island, Wash.: Starmont House. p. 37. ISBN 1557420327. 
  15. ^ Frank M. Robinson & Lawrence Davidson; with technical assistance by John Gunnison (1998). Pulp culture: the art of fiction magazines (1st American ed.). Portland, Or.: Collectors Press. pp. 73, 81. ISBN 1888054123. 

Further Reading[edit]

  • Fielding, Mantle. "Riesenberg, Sidney". Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers. 1983. OCLC 71160893
  • United States, et al. Recruiting Posters Issued by the U.S. Army and Navy Since the Declaration of World War 1. [Washington, D.C.]: Press, U.S. Navy Recruiting Bureau, 1918. OCLC 177507026