Bike & Aviation Posters
20 vintage bicycle posters & 20 early aviation / airline travel gems

Embrace the romance of adventure, on wheels or wings.

22. Phébus. ca. 1898.
Artist: H. Gray (1858-1924)
39 x 55 1/4 in./99 x 125 cm
Est: $4,000-$5,000.

One of Gray’s most imaginative works, a Fin-de-Siécle angel is seen descending from heaven to grab a Phébus bicycle wheel.

21. Cycles Andru. ca. 1895.
21. Cycles Andru. ca. 1895.
Artist: Douzinelle
46 x 63 in./116.6 x 160 cm
Est: $1,500-$2,000.

This romantic, Impressionistic portrait of a lady for Cycles Andru channels a little bit of both Renoir and Van Gogh. This is the larger format version of the poster.

26. Marque Georges Richard / Cycles & Automobiles. 1899.
Artist: Eugene Grasset (1841-1917)
57 5/8 x 41 3/4 in./146.4 x 106 cm
Est: $3,000-$4,000.

Here, in one of the most appealing of Grasset’s posters, atmosphere is paramount. “Of the product, we see barely a handlebar: it is the moody and enigmatic rider who carries the weight of the sale. The twilight effect adds warmth to the image in which type and design are beautifully integrated. Georges Richard was one of quite a number of bicycle manufacturers who were hurriedly adding automobiles as a sideline around the turn of the century; within a few years, the sideline would become the main, or as here, the only product of the company” (Gold, p. 56).

33. Grande Semaine d'Aviation. 1909.
33. Grande Semaine d'Aviation. 1909.
Artist: Ernest Montaut (1879-1909)
46 7/8 x 63 3/4 in./162x 119cm
Est: $8,000-$10,000.

“The true ancestor of the aviation poster genre can be traced to . . . Montaut . . . for his portrayal of the trailblazing assembly at Rheims. Soft tints in the sky indicate that sunset is near, a time of day when the wind was apt to drop and flying was considered to be safer. A svelte female spectator, back to the viewer, lifts her arm in salute to an armada of aircraft rising like a swarm of bees . . . The curving zebra stripes of her costume—fully consonant with an impression of motion and speed, which after all was the crux of the message delivered by the newfangled flying machine—resonate as effectively as the determined look on the face of the nearest pilot. The Grande Semaine brought together for the first time the world’s greatest fliers. Among them were Louis Blériot, Henry Farman, Léon Delagrange, Hubert Latham, count Charles de Lambert, Louis Paulhan, Roger Sommer, and the American entry, Glenn Hammond Curtiss . . . Parisians streamed to the event; three thousand Britons came from London by special excursion, and two thousand Americans turned up to root for the single representative of their country. Rheims was a watershed in the history of flight. Aviators who had flown ‘before Rheims’ were regarded as veterans compared with those who learned to fly later. It dramatically demonstrated the progress made in aviation and provided an incalculable stimulus for the design and production of aeroplanes” (Looping the Loop, p. 42). This is the larger format.

36. Grande Semaine d’Aviation/Reims. 1910.
Artist: Harald
28 3/4 x 39 3/4 in./73 x 101 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000.

A most dramatic design in hues of sunlight and shadow: a magnificent bird of prey appears dubious, and a little shocked, as he turns to see the multitudinous forms of flying machines invading his airspace.

38. Farman. ca. 1920.
38. Farman. ca. 1920.
Artist: Anonymous
31 1/2 x 45 in./80 x 114.3 cm
Est: $5,000-$6,000.

Look at that Goliath of the sky! It’s a Farman F.60, designed in 1918 as a heavy bomber – but the war ended before it could be put into service, and suddenly the Goliath had a perfect design to be modified for passenger use. And of course, those passenger flights needed pilots. This extremely rare poster advertises flight school for the plane, all financial risks of injury to person or equipment supported by your 50-franc fee. The Paris-Bruxelles route was established in 1920.

This is just the beginning…
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