Baby Boom

Baby Boom - International Poster Gallery

Brun, Gevaert Film

Leupin, Rossli

Savignac, Margarina Gradina

Gruau, Relax

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International Poster Gallery is excited to present a fascinating retrospective exhibition of over 50 consumer advertising posters from the postwar Baby Boom era, at the gallery through November 18.

More than a half-century ago, the Fifties ushered in an era of peace and prosperity throughout much of the world despite the rising tensions of the Cold War. Populations exploded across the globe, especially in the U.S., Europe and Australia. In 1954, the birth rate in the United States climbed above 4 million and sustained that rate until 1964, when more than 40% of the population was under 20 years of age.

The Baby Boom had a profound impact on society, modern culture and advertising methods fueling the birth of international consumer brands. The era ushered in a brightly colored and whimsical style that became the dominant look of consumer advertising.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Swiss artist Herbert Leupin was pioneering a more playful, child-like style. Leupin's first poster for Coca Cola in 1953 features a simply drawn music stand, from which a "pause" sign hangs.

This unique style would proliferate in posters for products as diverse as cameras and film (Brun, Film Gevaert, 1950), cigarettes and cigars (Leupin, Rossli, 1953), margarine (Savignac, Margarina Gradina, 1953), and cars (Anonymous, Fiat 500, 1957).

World travel was now within the reach of the masses, and an explosion of delightful new ad campaigns appeared from TWA, BOAC, and Air France among others. One of the finest posters of its kind was David Klein's 1955 New York - Fly TWA, a dazzling abstract view of Times Square.

Teenagers bobbed to transistor radios and televisions became a fixture in living rooms. An elegant Philips poster by Eric from 1961 featuring streamlined clock radios and a woman's hand highlights this category of the exhibition. Other posters by Villemot, Pintori and Garretto advertise revolutionary advances in refrigerators, office machines and motorbikes.

Our Baby Boom exhibition wouldn't be complete without two major icons of the period - Audrey Hepburn and James Bond. Hepburn's visage spilled over into fine advertising posters like Rene Gruau's 1957 Relax... for a French ocean liner. The irrepressible James Bond wields his signature pistol and sly expression in a rare 1964 poster for the film From Russia with Love.

The Baby Boom era's peace and prosperity created a veritable "poster boom". Many of these posters are now more than 50 years old, some are rare or already hard to find, and several are recognized icons of the period. Don't miss this great look back!

View the Exhibition

View more 1950's and 1960's posters here!