June 18 - September 2, 2013
Wanderlust is the theme of our 21st annual Summer Show titled "That's Amore" - Travel Posters to Love." The exhibition traces the fascinating development of travel posters to Italy, the "Sunny Boot of Europe," from the rise of the railroads in the 1890s to the 1960s. Featuring more than 100 original vintage travel posters, the exhibition is rounded out by a select group of fine travel posters from around the globe.
Initially, only the wealthy could afford the time and expense to go to Italy, which had grown in popularity in the Middle Ages as an important pilgrimage destination and later as a cultural and scenic wonderland. This changed with the rise of the railroads and the completion of massive tunnel projects through the Alps at the end of the 19th century. The show opens with Al Lago Maggiore, a 1906 poster highlighting the recent completion of the Simplon Tunnel, which provided the first direct train route from Paris to Milan with glorious views of the Italian Lake Region along the way. Tourism, much delayed in Italy, was finally in order.
These first Italian travel posters were produced by the railroads, like Al Lago Maggiore, but a second wave began in 1919 with the birth of the Italian National Tourist Bureau (ENIT). This government sponsored agency commissioned numerous posters to promote Italy?s world-class tourist destinations. Its efforts plus faster rail and ocean liners, the rise of a vibrant ex-pat population, and the explosive Roaring Twenties economy caused Italian tourism to blossom. A fine example, Venedig und Lido, circa 1925, by Vittorio Grassi, is a dreamy poster promoting Venice and its Lido beaches, published in several languages including German.
The Thirties were a time of challenge, as the Depression and international tensions threatened the tourism industry. Mussolini redoubled efforts to attract tourists. ENIT commissioned fine artists such as AM Cassandre, Marcllo Dudovich and Marcello Nizzoli to promote Italian cultural attractions. The show includes a rare 1930 ocean liner poster by Giuseppe Riccobaldi, Navigazione Generale Italiana, one of three companies that merged into Mussolini?s Italian Line two years later.
Shrewd marketers for Italian hotels and ocean liners capitalized on the power of the tourist boom to create one of the earliest forms of viral marketing, the luggage label. These beautifully designed mini-posters were glued to the suitcases of status-conscious travelers, who gladly served as walking billboards.The gallery is offering a special selection of these beautifully designed and printed labels, many produced by the famed Neapolitan printing house of Richter, including designs by Mario Borgoni and J. Pashal. View all luggage labels.
The revival of travel after World War II developed slowly. The Italian postwar economic "miracle" once again made Italy a leading destination. Fellini's classic film La Dolce Vita and Italian fashion positioned Italy as a land of style and beauty, which was successfully promoted around the world in ENIT posters.
The exhibition concludes with a smorgasbord of spectacular posters from India, Morocco, Switzerland, France, England and Australia, as well as several famous posters for Cunard, Air France and Pan Am.
Browse featured posters.
back to top