This item is sold. It has been placed here in our online archives as a service for researchers and collectors.
Richly decorated double hemisphere pictorial map of the moon, issued by the Merrill Lynch firm in commemoration of the Apollo space missions. As the title implies, it combines accurately drawn and labeled maps of lunar craters and seas with whimsical illustrations. The artist playfully inserts sea monsters in the lunar seas and a mythological depiction of three American presidents -- Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy, whose administrations supported space exploration -- soaring above the scene upon the back of a bald eagle. From the eagle's beak, a banner unfurls with astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous phrase, “One small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.” The near side of the moon depicts the Apollo 11 and 12 landings and the Mannerist style cartouche is surmounted by an earth within intertwined ticker tape, above which an Apollo spaceship blasts off. Banners flanking the cartouche describe how 1969 will be remembered and what is to be expected in 1970. The moon landings are linked with other great achievements of humankind in the bottom of the picture, such as flight, the Eiffel tower, and even Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Above the eagle is a straightforward illustration of phases of the moon and to either side a nod to legend and folklore: a moon goddess rides a chariot and fires an arrow while on the opposite side the cow from a Mother Goose rhyme jumps over the moon. Two anthropomorphized suns adorn the upper corners, blowing wind charged with negative and positive ions on the hemispheres.
Moon maps, globes, and souvenirs became popular in the 1960s as people followed the American and Soviet space race, especially following the famous Apollo 11 mission in 1969, in which Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. This map apparently was a promotional item issued by Merrill Lynch investment bank for its customers.
Michael Ramus was an American illustrator, draftsman, collagist and sculptor. He grew up in New York and Boston and briefly attended Yale University before moving to New York City to study at the Art Students League. By 1940, he was employed as a comic book artist when he was drafted into the Army. He served four years during World War II, including a stint designing posters at the Recruiting Publicity Bureau. After the war, he had a successful career doing advertising, corporate and magazine illustration, for publications such as Life, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, Reader's Digest, Argosy, Playboy and American Heritage. Ramus was a member of the Society of Illustrators. In 2002, he was the subject of a retrospective at Rider University in New Jersey. At that time he recalled, "It was at the old Life magazine that I was first able to bring my cartooning bent into my work. At that time, there was not much `humorous' illustration being done in serious journalism. There were not really any precedents so what elements of style I developed were pretty much sui generis." His fine art tended to have a whimsical or satirical bent as well. A longtime resident of Princeton, New Jersey, Ramus was also an amateur geologist and accompanied expeditions of the Princeton University Geology Department. On one of these trips, he unearthed a new species of dinosaur which was named after him and displayed at the university.
"Obituaries: Michael Ramus." Town Topics. 25 May 2005. http://www.towntopics.com/may2505/obits.html#obit4 (13 February 2006).
Summers, Pat. "Mike Ramus' 'Fine' Arts." Originally in U.S. 1 Newspaper. 6 November 2002.
Princetoninfo.com. http://www.princetoninfo.com/200211/21106p04.html (13 February 2006).