One Hundred years ago today, the sinking of Cunard’s luxurious Lusitania off the coast of Ireland by a U-Boat took 1,198 lives (including 123 Americans) and evoked a visceral anti-German reaction in England and the US. The deadly submarine cordon around Britain was one of the most visible signs that WWI would be the most destructive war ever — an all-out struggle involving civilians and soldiers alike. Ultimately the atrocity would be a chief reason for US entry in the war two years later against Germany and its allies.
Immediately following the incident, this powerful 5 foot tall “Remember the Lusitania – Enlist To-Day” broadside above was printed to appeal to the public sentiment surrounding the tragic loss of lives. Pure text-based, it quotes from the jury’s verdict, which matched the intensity of feelings surrounding the atrocity – the great ship sank in 18 minutes, taking with it many leading figures of the era.
The creation of the Lusitania represented the optimism and technological sophistication of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. This recently sold poster by Odin Rosenvinge from around 1907 shows the majestic ship slicing through rough seas, seen under a moonlit sky and traversed by the beacon of a nearby lighthouse. Moody and romantic, it is one of the rarest and most beautiful of all ocean liner posters.
The Lusitania and its sister, the Mauretania, were the largest and fastest on the sea, utilizing steam turbines for the first time. Moreover, the ships displayed unrivaled luxury and comfort prompting its rival White Star to build the Titanic a few years later. The sinking of the Lusitania cut British pride to the core.
Erik Larson’s recently released narrative non-fiction novel, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and tells the compelling tale of the sinking of the Lusitania. Larson consulted archival materials, including code books, intercepted telegrams, photographs, U-boat logs, and even love letters from Woodrow Wilson. A great summer read!
International Poster Gallery proudly presents “Affordable Classics: Posters for the New Collector”, a show and sale of 50 original vintage posters under $2500 that reveal why the field remains one of the best for newcomers. The show features fine examples from several styles, subjects and eras to indicate the incredible breadth of opportunities for any budding collector or home decorator. Highly accessible, beautifully printed and designed by world-leading artists, advertising posters have more than a 30 year track record of appreciation.
Join us on Tuesday, March 24 from 6-8pm at 205 Newbury Street for our New Collectors Night. Gallery owner Jim Lapides will present a talk on poster art and the do’s and dont’s of collecting.
View more pieces from the upcoming show here:
The Swiss Object Poster Style sought to create unforgettable icons out of everyday objects through breathtaking graphics and printing. No one artist knew how to accomplish this better than Peter Birkhauser, who created more than 50 Object Poster masterpieces during the Thirties, Forties and Fifties.
This elegant poster featuring a simple box is a perfect illustration of Birkhauser’s magic – the crisp folds of the wrapping paper, the trompe l’oeil affect of the green string, and the whimsical flip of the handle represent everything that the department store stands for.
For more Swiss posters, click here!
Stan Galli created some of the best travel posters of the Fifties and Sixties for United Airlines. This sun-dappled poster is one of his finest – the perfect evocation of the hedonistic lifestyle of Southern California in the mid-60s. Our beach blonde in shades could be fresh from a cover shoot for a Beach Boys album or from a present day TV set for MadMen.
Galli passed away in 2009, signaling an end to the golden age of American illustration in the Forties, Fifties and Sixties. Posters from this era have become increasingly collectible and more difficult to find in fine condition.
For more Mid-Century Modern classics, check out our exhibitions entitled – Baby Boom and Global Persuasion!
Erik Nitsche was a promising young Swiss graphic designer who moved to the US in 1934, making his name designing hundreds of album covers for Decca. In 1955 he became the Art Director for General Dynamics, a leading multi-division technology firm most famous for building the first nuclear submarine. There, Nitsche created several spectacular series of posters promoting the conglomerate’s various disciplines.
This design of a whirling propeller is from a series done in 1959 and 1960 promoting the company’s energy and industrial products at the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva in 1960. His inventive International Style designs were unlike anything ever created and stand among the best corporate advertising campaigns of the era.
Also by Erik Nitsche, this design of a pyramid made of flags is one of the earliest, produced for the first international “Atoms for Peace” conference in 1955.
A Touch of the French Riviera!
This vibrant scene of the Riviera coast, created in a style reminiscent of Matisse, is the work of a Russian artist who left for France after the Russian Revolution. Terechkovitch was trained in the acclaimed School of Art, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow and immediately felt comfortable in the Russian ex-patriot community in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris.
There he became friendly with Chaim Soutine, an Expressionist painter close to Modigliani, and Mikhail Larionov and his wife Natalia Goncharova, avant-garde Russian artists. After WWII Terechkovitch moved to Menton on the French Riviera.
The main characteristic of Terechkovitch’s work is stunning color, as is abundantly clear in this sun-dappled poster of his wife on a seaside porch. Beautifully printed in 1960 by Mourlot, the leading fine art printer in Paris, it is in perfect condition.
View more more French Travel posters here!
The Gallery is alive with Campari!
This new discovery is irresistible, playful, charming, seductive, hip, fresh and stylish, all rolled in one. You think Audrey Hepburn, Donald Draper & friends, La Dolce Vita and Twiggy. The long green stockinged legs, the stylish shoes, the tip of the cap to both modern art and hieroglyphics in the painted almond shaped eye…it is unbearably clever and fun…just what an ad should be.
Campari soda was first produced in 1930 and became the first pre-mixed drink sold world-wide. Its famous bottle was designed by none other than Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero and described as an upside down goblet. Surrealist fashion illustrator Franz Marangolo created an image that would position it solidly in the minds of a new generation: “It runs (keeps up) with the times (corre col tempo!)” His superb ads for the Fiat 500 and 600 were equally successful.
This handsome Object Poster by Mingozzi smartly plays on this theme, focusing only on the bottle and its interplay with a goblet in front of it. No tagline is necessary.
View more Campari Posters here!
Most people are surprised to learn that there are more 20th century poster masterpieces from Switzerland than any other country. There are many reasons: an international tradition which absorbed and often mimicked the best of its neighbors; a vigorous national program to promote the poster and its printers; and a series of great teachers who advanced the art of the poster. The Swiss poster had its roots in the travel poster as it became a popular travel destination at the turn of the century. Characteristic Swiss poster styles are the Sachplakat, or Object Poster, as well as the International Typographic Style which became the predominant graphic design style in the world from the Fifties into the Seventies and continues to exert its influence today.
Influential by Design: The Swiss Poster’s Impact on the Modern World explores Swiss design’s leadership in creating a graphic vocabulary for the complex, global realities of modern society. The exhibition begins with a backdrop of early Swiss posters, including ski, travel, transportation and product posters by leading Swiss poster designers Otto Baumberger, Emil Cardinaux, Herbert Leupin, and Niklaus Stoecklin.
The show then focuses on the remarkable flowering of Swiss graphic design in the Fifties – a new style heavily reliant on typography to create a universal language of design. Simple, clear and harmonious, it would become the leading language of the increasingly global postwar marketplace, from institutions and international exhibitions to packaging and traffic design.
As part of Boston Design Week, International Poster Gallery is hosting an event on March 26 in collaboration with swissnex Boston, including a gallery tour with Chris Pullman, artist, designer, poster collector and former Vice President for Design and Branding for WGBH. The program accompanies a one-day exhibition and sale of poster masterpieces drawn from the Gallery’s world-leading Swiss collection.
Browse all of our Swiss posters here and browse more of our Swiss poster favorites on Pinterest.
Poster Mystery #1 – How did a department store in Italy start selling iPads in 1904?
| Leopoldo Metlicovitz, E. & A. Mele & Ci., 1904 |
Wishing you and yours a happy, prosperous 2013!