The United States Lines, formed in 1921, was a newcomer to the world of ocean liner fleets, which was dominated by the Europeans. Cassandre’s jaunty, sharply geometric poster of a ship’s funnels in red, white and blue expresses the intentions of the upstart to join the elite group. Already, its SS Leviathan, taken from Germany as WWI war reparations, was the largest passenger ship in the world.
More than any other poster artist, Cassandre understood and adapted the advances of modern art to create a new poster style that we now know as Art Deco. His designs from 1928 are amongst his finest. Daringly abstract, the minimalist designs for Bestway, Statendam and United States Lines of that year distilled his Machine Age style to its most pure expression.
This is the earliest of those designs, and thought to be the rarest. Note that Cassandre left the blank space at the bottom for the local shipping agent.