[September 5, 2008
„Conference Room, Peack House, Kaesong – Aug.15, ’51” by Herbert C. Hahn
This drawing, highlight of a series of a total of eight by American war artist Herbert C. Hahn, is certainly a haunting graphic document of the armistice talks during the Korean War that started at Kaesong on July 10, 1951 and lasted until August 22, 1951. Initially, both sides – the North Korean and Chinese as well as the South Korean and American Alliances – expected these peace talks to last for only three to six weeks, but they deadlocked and broke off. Hahn, who had initially been assigned as photographer to the U.S. Navy but whose ambition it was to continue his work as a draughtsman and painter, had top security clearance and was thus able to do sketches on the spot. The drawing below, which he left in a state of elaborate unfinishedness (a manner he obviously preferred) is marked „Conference Room, Peack House, Kaesong – Aug.15, ’51.
The following depiction of an organ may exemplify Hahns extraordinarily slick graphic style, which was influenced by the advertising art of his day. He probably executed it in the late 1940s when he was working on the illustrations to Ralph B. Wright’s Christian fundamentalist book on “California’s Missions” that was published in Santa Barbara in 1950. Hahn worked on military training films produced in Hollywood studios and was one of Senator Ronald Reagan’s favorite artists.