From the earliest experiments in “heavier-than-air” kites to modern airlines like Air France, these rare and insightful images reveal the fascinating history and cultural intoxication with flight.
By M. Dessoures
Just imagine: it’s midsummer in 1910, and nothing is sexier than watching those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines from the top of the Église Saint-Pierre in Caen. Over 60,000 spectators a day took in the spectacle (though few, supposedly, from this vantage point), which included “competitive events between ‘civilians’ and ‘servicemen'” (Affiches d’Aviation, p. 57) in hot-air balloons and rudimentary flyers in the infancy of the aviation age.
“The popularity of various forms of entertainment—the theatre, the cinema, the circus—has waxed and waned over the years, but one form of spectacular show has continued to increase its appeal… This is the air show, display, pageant, call it what you will… By 1910 flying had become a popular sport for sightseers, and at any field where experimental flying went on large crowds would assemble whenever possible” (History of Aviation, p. 80). And though this particular two-sheet design by an unidentified artist isn’t for an air show per se, it does promote an air field near Marseilles that was open to the public and apparently had a constant influx of flying machines. The design secures the viewer’s attention with a sky filled with the most cutting-edge technology of its day: Blériot, Wright, Voisin, and Farman craft, as well as a dirigibles tossed in for good measure. Rare!
By David Klein (1918-2005)
Z is for Zippy. Klein is best known for his destination advertisements on behalf of TWA in the 1950s and ‘60s. His typography, coloration, and aesthetics were both defined by, and helped define, American style of the period. To express the idea that TWA knows Africa A to Z, he creates a hypnotic convocation of zebras in the tall Serengeti grass. It’s a classic example of mid-century Modern design.
New York City is resplendent in this aqua-toned Cubist-style collage. For the intrepid traveler, transportation options abound: take a car down the West Side Highway, sail in on a ferry along the Hudson River, or fly above Manhattan, where you can take in all of New York’s impressive architecture. In the midst of the hubbub stands the triumphant Statue of Liberty, beckoning visitors to the shore.
By Dan Reisinger (1934-2019)
This simple yet catchy design by Reisinger for El Al Airlines promotes the introduction of Boeing 747s to the fleet. El Al retired the last of their 747s in 2019—an astonishing 48-year term of service for the iconic jet.
In-gallery viewing February 24-March 25 (11am-6pm daily)