Chim: David Seymour's Humanist Photography
National Gallery of Art, home page
Image: David Seymour (Chim), National Lottery, Barcelona, Spanish Civil War, 1938, gelatin silver print David Seymour (Chim)
National Lottery, Barcelona, Spanish Civil War, 1938
gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Art, Gift of Ben Shneiderman
© David Seymour Estate/Magnum Photos

Spanish Civil War

National Lottery, Barcelona, Spanish Civil War

Since its inception in 1812, the national lottery has been both an integral element of Spanish culture and an important source of government revenue. Recognizing this, the Republicans and Nationalists each launched their own lotteries during the civil war. Here, a Republican lottery vendor in Barcelona sits in his adult tricycle festooned with tickets.

Chim's photograph captures the bizarre combination of continuity and rupture that often characterizes a home front during war. Here, the only obvious sign that this was taken during wartime is the giant poster in the background, which translates as "There is no greater honor for the country than to defend it."

This photograph, slightly cropped, appeared in a mammoth 24-photograph essay by Chim, entitled "Barcelona, A City at War," that ran in Life magazine on November 28, 1938. Chim's photographs, the accompanying text said, "show how a people learn to live with war."