"Left without a boot" (Krokodil #32, 1943). Cartoon depicting Adolf Hitler after the Allied Forces had invaded and conquered Italy in 1943, leaving Hitler without the help of one of his Axis Forces. A portrait of deposed dictator Benito Mussolini appears on the left.

Yuliy Ganf (also written as "Yulii Ganf") was an Ukrainian-Russian graphic artist, poster designer and political cartoonist. He was one of the most prominent illustrators in the satirical magazine Krokodil. His 1953 anti-war cartoon, 'This Restaurant Serves Only One Person', later became popular on the Internet.

Early life and career
Yuliy Abramovich Ganf was born in 1898 in Poltava, Ukraine. His younger brother Joseph Abramovich Ganf (1899-1873) was also a graphic artist and poster designer. Between 1917 and 1920, Ganf studied Law at the University of Kharkov, while also working as a painter and sculptor in the studio of Eduard Steinberg. Between 1922 and 1924, he was a student at the Soviet state school VKhUTEMAS in Moscow. After graduation he illustrated children's books for Detgiz, as well. As a book illustrator, he enlivened the pages of a reprint of Charles Dickens' classic novel 'Martin Chuzzlewit'.

ROSTA
During his studies, the Russian Revolution broke out, changing Russia in 1917 from a Czarist monarchy into the first Communist republic in the world. In 1918, the Russian Telegraph Agency ("ROSTA") was established. It was a state news agency which also created propaganda. They produced "Okna Rosta" ("Rosta Windows"): stenciled pamphlets featuring propaganda drawings, cartoons and comics with text in captions. Most focused on topical events, usually promoting the Communist regime. Together with fellow artists like Viktor Deni, Dmitry Moor, Nikolai Kogout, Alexey Komarov, Alexander Mikhailov Rodchenko and Mikhail Cheremnykh, Ganf made many cartoons and posters that glorified Lenin and the Soviet Union and demonized capitalism, monarchy and organized religion. Other works were more educational in nature, informing peasants of the benefits of learning to read and write, modern industry, basic hygiene, vaccination and health care. His illustrations appeared in publications like Pravda, Bezbozhnik, Krasny Perets and especially Krokodil.

In 1938, Ganf made a satirical painting, 'A Lesson In Visual History' for the exhibition '20 Years of the Red Army'. In 1941, when Hitler invaded Russia and Stalin organized a counterattack, Ganf made many patriotic motivational posters in support of the Soviet army, ridiculing the Nazis. After the war, Ganf continued on as one of the house cartoonists of Pravda and Krokodil.


'In America - At This Restaurant Only One Person Is Served' (Krokodil #4, 1953).

This Restaurant Serves Only One Person
The 10 February 1953 issue of Krokodil magazine ran a Ganf cartoon titled 'In America - At This Restaurant Only One Person Is Served'. It shows a restaurant where waiters serve piles of money to a soldier, labeled "War". In the background, four other customers, sitting at tables labeled Education, Health Care, Libraries and Art wait in vain for service. Often, when the cartoon is reproduced,  its original anti-capitalist and anti-American context is omitted by shortening the title to 'At This Restaurant Only One Person Is Served', or by showing just the image itself, without the captions. Ganf's cartoon is instantly understandable without captions, even outside the Cold War context. One can argue that the situation depicted in the cartoon applies to all countries, not just the United States. This powerful and timeless critique of government and business spending on military defense continues to attract attention in the Internet age.

Recognition
In 1945, Ganf received the title "Honored Artist of the RSFSR" for his motivational cartoons urging his country's defense against Hitler's invasion of Russia during World War II. In 1964, he was honored as a People's Artist of the USSR. At the International Exhibition 'Satire in Fight for Peace' in 1970,  the artist received a "Fighter for Peace" medal.

Death and legacy
Ganf passed away in 1973 in Moscow at age 74. His cartoons and propaganda posters can still be seen in various Russian art museums and state collections. Fellow artist Dmitry Moor praised Ganf's work: "Ganf masters watercolors with such ease and skill that one forgets the technique and focuses on the most important element - the content."


'An Old Tale in the Washington Way' (Krokodil #7, 1957).

Series and books by Yuliy Ganf you can order today:

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