Hand. Frank Cieciorka.

The Original Counterculture Fist Image


Notes: Woodcut of a fist, an image which became one of the iconic symbols of 1960s and 1970s activism. According to the New York Times obituary of Cieciorka (1939–2008), his "woodcut rendering of a clenched-fist salute was a model for the New Left's most ubiquitous emblem." It was used, often with little or no modification, by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Black Panthers. A more stylized version, drawn by Cieciorka for an anti-draft rally, was also widely disseminated. More recently, Occupy Oakland adopted his original woodcut version, and many Black Lives Matter protest signs incorporate the design.

Cieciorka participated in many 1960s movements, first as a volunteer during the Freedom Summer, then with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, then with the Black Panthers. He designed flyers, posters, and pamphlets for all of them. He made this woodcut of the fist—which he called "Hand"—in 1965.

Rare: The Oakland Museum of California has a 1966 screenprint version. A copy was exhibited at St. Mary's College in a show called California in Relief: "Just around a corner panel in the exhibit is a 1965 woodcut modestly titled "Hand" by Frank Cieciorka, who was working with voting rights activists in that era. It is so basic, just a fist, a print not much larger than 2-by-3-inches. Yet it was one of the precursors of the fists on buttons, T-shirts and posters that launched decades of social and political activism. Among the scores of prints on display, it most depicts the power of simplicity."—Robert Taylor.

4 by 5 inches, woodcut on paper.

Edition + Condition: A fine copy, titled, signed, and dated in pencil. This is one of the earliest copies of Hand and one of a very small number that Cieciorka dated.

Publication: (N.-pl.): Frank Cieciorka, 1965.

Item No: #1508

Price: $3,000