What a delighful tour it will be on a balmy midsummer night, spinning over the Ninth Avenue line from Harlem to the Battery, catching glimpses of the Hudson at the cross streets, until the moonlit bay bursts upon the view in all its silvery glory!
– New York Journal, 1896, adovcating for an elevated bikeway in Manhattan
45 1⁄2 x 65 in./115.5 x 165 cm
A wonderful work of kaleidoscopic delirium, featuring a lovely rainbow-skirted lass freestyling it upon her Cycles “Automoto.” (It’s possible H. Caume was appropriating the Loïe Fuller craze going on in Paris at the time. One of the oldest cycle manufacturers, Automoto had several factories based in St. Etienne until the 1960s, when it was bought by Peugeot. This poster notes the numerous spare, replaceable, and detachable parts of the bicycle for repairs and improvements – presumably so that the bike mechanic can tinker with parts as an artist does with color.
58 x 84 5/8 in./147.2 x 215 cm
This dapper proto-hipster pulls off a cunning stunt to capture the attention of the ladies: he’s seemingly performing a feat of strength, marvelously balancing the frame aloft with just one hand. The ladies are rapt in admiration; one faints, another coos, still another proffers a rose. Unbeknownst to them, however, Whitworth specialized in manufacturing the “lightest and most durable” cycles on the market, as a later 1910 certificate attests. This poster was printed just before the merger of Whitworth and Rudge Cycles. Today, the Whitworth brand has been revived, and still boasts of the fat tires seen on this 1894 model.
43 1⁄4 x 58 1⁄2 in./119.8 x 148.5 cm
The “decade of the bicycle” in the 1890s began with images of men impressing women on their bikes; then independent women, biking to freedom and safety. Now, it’s 1899, and this Bonnie & Clyde couple are making their getaway, together, from the scampering gendarme: he upon a bicycle, and she with the souped-up power and acceleration of the new motocyclette. Couples that ride together, stay together.
15 3/4 x 23 5/8 in./40.3 x 60 cm
Departing from his usual choice of showgirls and upper-class ladies, Pal gives us a Valkyrie ready to ride out in battle on her aptly-named Liberator bicycle. Wildly popular, it was printed dozens of times, by numerous artists in myriad formats and minor alterations: some added foliage or slightly altered text. This is a new version of the Kossuth variant of the poster, in the rare smallest format.