From the dawn of the cruise ship liner to aviation travel in the ’80s, these historic designs celebrate the magnitude of mass transportation.
49 3/4 x 37 in./126.4 x 94 cm
This detailed design promotes round-the-world travel in style via ship and rail. The globe gives us part of the itinerary: from the right, the ship comes through the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, then by railway from Marseille to Le Havre, by ship again to New York, where the railroad—shown at the bottom of the design—takes you to San Francisco either by way of Chicago or New Orleans, and finally by ship again across the Pacific. It’s one of the most magnificent travel posters ever created.
59 3/4 x 43 3/8 in./152 x 110.2 cm
Here, Cassiers employs his characteristic local perspective to show two sailors looking on in anticipation as the Lapland makes her way into port after one of her Antwerp to New York journeys. Built for the Red Star Line in Ireland in 1908, the Lapland carried some 2,500 passengers on this transatlantic run. She remained in service there until 1930; afterwards she served the more leisurely cruises, and was retired in 1934.
30 1/8 x 42 7/8 in./76.6 x 109 cm
Today, the harbor of Marseille is mainly home to pleasure craft, but in 1923, the city was “The Great Industrial and Commercial Metropolis” of the Côte d’Azur. Broders illustrates it as such: the busy harbor, its water reflecting a startling yellow sky, with ships and longshoremen in the foreground, the colorful town behind, and the church of Notre Dame de la Garde in the distance. The arched frame gives us a window-seat and the colors act as spotlights. A prior version of the poster had the bottom text line promoting the 1922 National Colonial Exposition (see PAI-LXII, 101).
23 7/8 x 35 in./60.8 x 88.8 cm
While an elegant American makes her way up the gangplank—most likely as she boards the Manhattan en route to Paris, capital of the Roaring ‘20s—we can’t help but notice an entirely different US Lines ship in the background: the SS Leviathan.
33 1/2 x 48 3/8 in./85.2 x 123 cm
A triumphant airman takes his gull-winged monoplane soaring above the medieval spires and towers of Rouen. It’s a euphoric image of bright 20th century futurism, bursting through the golden sunlight of 1910. “Fifty thousand spectators attended the Great Aviation Week of Rouen, with its two-mile circuit, to watch a dozen monoplanes and as many biplanes compete in the now classic disciplines: speed, altitude, and flight duration… The air show was dominated by a talented young man, Léon Morane, who won all of the events, while Marcel Hanriot, Europe’s youngest aviator, was making his debut” (Affiches d’Aviation, p. 33).
82 1/4 x 82 1/4 in./209 x 209 cm
This lovingly executed, beautifully designed 4-sheet poster for an early “feature-length” (6-reel) documentary film is a rare collector’s item for both film and aviation buffs alike. The “daring flight,” just before President Wilson’s closing of the canal to such ventures, resulting in “a notable achievement in motion photography,” is fully described in the promotional copy at the bottom, with the cameos of the pilot, Bob Fowler, and photographer, Ray Durem. This is a six-sheet poster.
31 1/2 x 43 1/2 in./80 x 110.6 cm
From 1911 to 1914, this reliability flight on the Upper Rhine tested the finesse of the latest German flight models, which were largely military. In 1913, the race became known as the Prinz-Heinrich-Flug in honor of Prince Heinrich of Prussia who took over patronage that year. The multi-stage flight ran from Wiesbaden to Strasbourg with a reconnaissance flight back. Lieutenant Ferdinand von Hiddessen won the reliability test with a Mars monoplane. Riess presents us with an intimidating participant in this incredibly rare and early aviation poster.
34 3/8 x 47 1/4 in./87.3 x 120 cm
Engelhard takes a break from his charming Art Deco imagery to create a compelling and dynamic design: the unsettling perspective, the dash lines of movement, and the gray abstracted plane beneath a bold red model form a gripping scene. The event depicted is an aerobatic show performed by Ernst Udet and Robert Ritter von Greim, both German aviation pilots in World War I who became national heroes for their triumphant military work. After the war, they continued practicing their passions by putting on top-of-the-line air shows with dangerous maneuvers and awe-inspiring feats. In World War II, both men were recruited for the Luftwaffe; Udet played a key role in reorganizing the German Air Force and organizing the Battle of Britain. Sadly, both men also died from suicide. Rare!
22 7/8 x 32 7/8 in./58.2 x 83.6 cm
This haunting poster for the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei adverties two-day travel from Germany to New York City. Emerging through a classic foggy New York-in-the-’30s morning, blue sky opens up around the Zeppelin as a shaft of golden light strikes the spire of the Empire State Building, in an imagining of its intended use as a dirigible mooring station—though it was ultimately never used for that purpose. Rare!
25 3/4 x 40 in./65.2 x 101.5 cm
Of all the wonders to behold in Paris, Ungerer zeroes in on its rich art history—specifically, the history of painted nudes. But Ungerer adds his characteristic flair of wry humor by having the muse reach right out of the painting to tap the gentleman viewer on his shoulder.
25 1/8 x 40 in./64 x 102 cm
Using flat, broad swaths of color, Cusden delivers the vibrancy and allure of Fatehpur Sikri, the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571-1585. Known as the City of Victory, it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. As the first planned city of the Mughals, it boasts excellently preserved examples of palaces, public buildings, and mosques constructed in red sandstone and reflecting an amalgamation of indigenous and Persian style. Here, we catch a glimpse of the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. Among its many wonderful architectural features, it can host an astounding 25,000 people in its courtyard.
26 7/8 x 40 5/8 in./68.3 x 103.2 cm
Madan gives us a breathtaking, painterly interpretation of the iconic view of Niagara Falls, which is easily reachable via the New York Central Lines. Rare!
26 1/2 x 40 1/2 in./67.3 x 103 cm
This is one of the greatest, most iconic images in the history of American art. “In June 1938, the New 20th Century Limited… made its debut. To mark the occasion, Ragan created a poster that became the archetype of American streamliner designs. His rendering left locomotive driving wheels and gadgetry in shadow, instead focusing on the Century’s distinctive satin-finished crescent-shaped prow as it caught the morning sunlight while streaming alongside the Hudson River, New York City-bound” (Travel By Train, p. 124).
23 7/8 x 39 3/8 in./60.6 x 100 cm
Best known for being part of the Orient Express route, Pullman cars were the height of luxury travel in the early 20th century. Here, an elegant, tartan-clad traveler waits while her baggage is placed within the Queen of Scots, bound for the heart of the Scottish Highlands.
27 x 40 7/8 in./68.8 x 104.5 cm
“The Chief” was a well known express train from Chicago to Los Angeles on the Santa Fe line. It wasn’t necessary to show the train—a finely drawn profile of an Indian sufficed. “Villa treated Native Americans with a respect that approached reverence and sought to dispel the stereotypical attitude that they all looked alike” (Travel by Train, p. 77).