Vintage travel posters offer a great perspective on the history of transit, the fashions of the time, and the destinations that were most seductive to visitors. They also offer a satisfying antidote to wanderlust by allowing us to escape the day-to-day with visual voyeurism.
24 7/8 x 39 1/4 in./63.3 x 99.7 cm
At the Porte de L’Afrique du Nord, hoards of international ships fill the peaceful sea as they anticipate new trade opportunities resulting from PLM’s railway expansion. From Broder’s idealized vantage point, we glimpse the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, a church dedicated to the seafarer, rising on the hill; the dome to the left, of the Cathédrale La Major, would be difficult to see from the harbor at this angle. Nevertheless, the geometric composition, specked with coral red and dreamy sea blue, is a powerful depiction of the monumental change about to shake Marseille.
30 3/4 x 47 in./78 x 119.4 cm
“This beautiful young visitor studies a list of activities available at the famous seaside resort of Cabourg, as the fresh ocean breezes blow her red cape about” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 203). Rare!
24 3/8 x 39 1/2 in./61.8 x 100.4 cm
Cassandre designed this and two other Italian tourism posters during a working summer holiday on the shore of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy. The Mussolini regime had passed a law banning Italian companies from commissioning French artists; to get around it, Cassandre’s future publisher in Italy, Augusto Coen, invited him to work in Italy. Savignac, then Cassandre’s assistant, loyally accompanied him and collaborated on the three posters. Though the style was a dead giveaway, Cassandre had to play along with the charade and use the monogram “A.M.C.” to conceal his French name. This particular creation centers on a montage of sports and recreational objects against a panorama of Italian topography. From the cobalt-blue Adriatic to the azure of the sky over the Alps, the entire scene is expressed with extreme graphic economy. This particular version of the poster excludes the bottom two text lines that mentions that Italy has the field for every sport in their beautiful country, allowing Cassandre’s masterful graphics to convey that message all by themselves.
24 x 30 in./61 x 76.2 cm
“Colin realized at least three posters for the General Transatlantic Company, known throughout the entire world by the name ‘French Line.’ Here, the somber ship cleaving the shimmering waters is seen sailing through a transparent drape consisting of the French colors, a delightful way to remind [the viewer] of the nationality of this transport company” (Colin Affichiste, p. 132). This is a never-before-seen version with the simplified “French Line” name at top and bottom text that reads: “Your gay entree to England and France.” It is d’après Paul Colin, indicating a second printing for the American market. Rare!
20 3/8 x 39 1/4 in./62 x 99.7 cm
The Gatsby is strong in Domergue’s life and work. As a resident of Monte-Carlo, swanning about with the glitterati was both his artistic subject and his life’s object. It was a rather ideal business model: illustrate the world’s most beautiful women on the Riviera, design fashion accessories for them, and organize elegant balls in which to show them all off. He became a local celebrity in the process. This is one of Domergue’s finest designs—a perfect balance of colors and forms as the flashbulb-Hollywood couple is caught by the paparazzi. This is the smaller format.
Each: 29 1/4 x 40 3/4 in./74.2 x 103.7 cm
“Far, far above, piercing the infinite sky, / Mont Blanc appears—still, snowy, and serene; / Its subject mountains their unearthly forms / Pile around it, ice and rock; broad vales between” – Percy Bysshe Shelley. These three posters for PLM Railway by Dorival are epic in their Modernist simplicity, almost anticipating Warhol in their colored iterations. “In the calm darkness of moonless nights, / In the lone glare of day, the snows descend / Upon that Mountain!” It’s very rare to have the full triptych—noon, sunset, and night—together as a unified set. (3)
24 3/4 x 39 3/4 in./63 x 101.2 cm
Now that’s a bathing suit! This fresh windswept beach-blonde is a knockout introduction to Atlantic City right around the city’s heyday as the Boardwalk Empire in the ’30s. There’s nary a Pennsylvania Railroad in sight, but there’s no doubt this ad was a head-turner—and remains so today.
26 1/8 x 38 1/8 in./66.4 x 97 cm
Gustav Jahn was an artist and a mountain climber—a combination that proved rich for his creative career and for tourism and travel campaigns in Austria’s Alpine region. Here, for the Imperial-Royal State Railways, he’s gifted us a scene of utter Art Nouveau decadence: a golden floral background embraces a serene vignette of the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria and the tallest Alpine peak east of the Brenner Pass. It’s also a part of the Hohe Tauern range, which is described by the text below as “one of the most beautiful glacier areas in the Alps.” We are also provided with a list of the most visited of the picturesque valleys: Gasteinertal, Raurisertal, Ferleitental, and Kaprunertal.
24 1/2 x 39 in./62.3 x 99 cm
The resort of Trouville advertises its newest attraction: a large public swimming pool, complete with diving boards of various heights. The symphony of blues which Molusson chooses to dominate the design works to a resoundingly cool and effective end.
29 x 41 1/4 in./73.5 x 104.8 cm
Pairing an Art Deco traveler with historic architecture and costume, van Doren exhibits some of the discoveries one might encounter on a trip to Belgium’s art towns on the national railway. Established in 1834, the Chemin de Fer Belges created the first steam-powered public railway in Europe.