Animal Farm author George Orwell popularized the term 'Cold War' in a 1945 essay. The CIA subsequently financed the adaptation of Animal Farm as a propaganda film to fight communism at the height of the Cold War.
During the Cold War, culture was a battlefield and art was deployed as a weapon. Into this charged atmosphere, the CIA conceived Operation Aedinosaur: launching hot air balloons from West Germany to fly across the Iron Curtain. The balloons carried copies of Animal Farm as a way to challenge the Soviet narrative and encourage people to question communism. Many were shot down by local air forces.
The CIA secretly gave American film producer Louis de Rochemont most of the $500,000 needed to fund the project. De Rochemont hired Britain’s top animators Halas & Batchelor to make the film, with a gala launch at the United Nations in New York. The film was an immediate hit: “The British out-Disney Disney” read one newspaper headline. The CIA thus ensured their anti-communist take on Orwell’s story would reach a global audience.
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was one of the 20th century’s most influential writers. His works, characterized by profound explorations of totalitarianism and oppression, were born from a life interwoven with the defining events and ideologies of his time. In fact, Animal Farm sprang from Orwell's personal experience of communism during the Spanish Civil War.
Husband and wife duo John Halas and Joy Batchelor crafted narratives that reflected the social and political landscape of their time. Their projects ranged from public service announcements to thought-provoking shorts, always managing to engage and enlighten audiences. Their dedication to animation wasn’t just about entertainment but also education, a testament to their vision of the medium’s profound capacity for storytelling.
The artworks available for sale capture an important moment in the story: the animals unified in song, voicing for the first time their newfound communist beliefs in freedom and equality. In this iconic scene the animals gather in secret from every corner of the farm to hear Old Major, the revered pig, deliver a fervent speech condemning the tyrannies of Farmer Jones and human rule. Igniting a rebellion, his proclamations stir the animals in revolutionary song, which is so vividly captured in these rare works for sale.