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Home : Vintage Poster Gallery Exhibitions : Full Steam Ahead Exhibition

Full Steam Ahead Exhibition

Full Steam Ahead Exhibition

Full Steam Ahead Exhibition

Full Steam Ahead Exhibition

Full Steam Ahead Exhibition

Full Steam Ahead Exhibition


Our 17th Annual Summer Poster Show

July 1 through September 6, 2010 


Ocean liners, trains, and planes were technological marvels that fostered a Golden Age of Travel from the 1890s up to World War II.  For the first time, travel became luxurious as floating palaces, express trains, and clipper ships made "getting there" half the fun.  Additionally, the completion of the railway networks and speedier intercontinental travel caused a leisure travel boom around the world, despite the interruptions and difficulties of a world war and economic Depression.

Among a wide selection of new additions to the gallery's inventory is a fine group of twenty British Rail posters.  Highlighting this collection is a 1939 classic by Charles Mayo, Speed to the West, which shows the Great Western Railway's superb King class locomotive steaming to holiday destinations in the West Country.  Posters from every corner of the United Kingdom are included: idyllic views of Wales, fly fishing and golf in Scotland, stately images of London, and lively beach scenes from the Isle of Man and Anglesey. 

A second group of posters is paced by Walter Greene's Adirondack Mountains Lake Placid, one of several rare New York Central posters from the Twenties and Thirties featured in the exhibition.  Three are by Leslie Ragan, the leading American Art Deco stylist who enjoyed a multi-decade relationship with the railway: his Chicago of 1929, the Union Terminal Cleveland of 1930, and the New Empire State Express of 1941. This sparkling trio is contrasted by one of the rarest New York Central posters, Ashtabula Harbor on Lake Erie, a moody industrial scene promoting the American heartland from 1926.

Last but not least is a third collection of ocean liner posters.  A stand-out is Cassandre's difficult-to-find United States Lines of 1928 for the leading American transatlantic shipping company.  This poster was created on the heels of his dynamic works promoting the Nord Express and Etoile du Nord that revolutionized transportation posters.  By turning to the clean aesthetic of Purism, an offshoot of Cubism, Cassandre inaugurated a monumental and timeless Machine Age Style.

In addition, "Full Steam Ahead!" features travel poster classics by Roger Broders (Marseille Point de Depart de la Cote d'Azur), Herbert Matter (All Roads lead to Switzerland), David Klein (San Francisco) and others.  Also included are the Chicago and New York Fairs of 1934 and 1939, as well as the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and Landry's Grand Prix Lausanne of 1947.

"It is easy to see from this show why travel and transportation posters continue to be one of the most popular areas of poster collecting," states gallery owner Jim Lapides. "They powerfully remind us of a romantic era now long past, and reignite the joys of discovery and enchantment we have all experienced in venturing to far away lands."

View the exhibition

View all Transportation posters here

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