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Woodstock in the Rear View Mirror

Arnold Skolnick, Woodstock Fortieth Anniversary, original poster 2009

 

A look back at our 40th Anniversary Woodstock Party with artist Arnold Skolnick

With the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock now upon us, I revisited the photos from our 40th Anniversary Celebration at the gallery 10 years ago today.  We were joined by Arnold Skolnick, the artist of the famous poster, who graciously signed a stash of original Woodstock trolley format posters for our clients.

Arnold Skolnick, Woodstock, 1969

Arnold Skolnick signs an original trolley format Woodstock poster

We still have a few unsigned trolley format posters at $1500 and one signed large format poster at $3000. Check out the website or call us for details!

Woodstock attendees reunited after 40 years

4 clients who attended Woodstock

Four Woodstock attendees shared their stories

Amongst our 100+ attendees were 4 of our clients who had all been at Woodstock – one actually helped build the stage before the event and spent time with the Grateful Dead, who arrived several days early.  He showed us his uncashed paycheck from the Woodstock Corporation, intact all these years due to the corporation’s bankruptcy after the event.

The 40th Anniversary limited edition silkscreen

Arnold Skolnick signs the Woodstock 40th Anniversary poster 

Arnold also designed a beautiful limited edition silkscreen poster for the 40th Anniversary. The poster shows the Woodstock dove atop a subtle color field with a running line of text, like a ticker tape, that recalls the dreams (Age of Aquarius, Civil Rights) as well as the nightmares of the decade (Viet Nam, Kennedy Assassination) that the peaceful event rose above.  Understated and elegant, it is a fitting tribute to a turbulent era and an event that helped to define it. Hand signed, it is available at $250, and now ON SALE for the week at $200.

 

Arnold Skolnick with the IPG team for the 40th Anniversary party

After attending Pratt Institute, Arnold became a very successful creative at Young & Rubicam, a leading New York advertising agency in the ’60s. He regaled us with wild stories ala Mad Men about the field in the turbulent era.  The Woodstock poster was done freelance.

A fitting image of the maestro in front of a poster by another maestro, Herbert Leupin:

Posters from the 1930s Race Across the Atlantic

A less well known milestone than the moon landing occurred on the same date – July 2090 years ago, when on its maiden voyage, the German superliner SS Bremen arrived in New York Harbor, breaking the record for the fastest westbound crossing of the Atlantic.  The event triggered an intense struggle after a long hiatus between the European powers for supremacy on the Atlantic which was only ended by the outbreak of World War II.

Below is a selection of posters from International Poster Gallery that illustrate the ships that would dominate the news in the era:

1929: Germany’s Bremen breaks the speed record across the Atlantic

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Bernd Steiner, The Next Big Ships are Coming! , 1929

Bremen took the prestigious Blue Riband from the leader of the British fleet, Cunard’s RMS Mauretania, which had held the record for nearly 20 remarkable years. Equally shocking was that the Bremen also broke Mauretania’s record across the Atlantic on its maiden return voyage – a first such achievement – in under 5 days, averaging nearly 28 knots.

This was only part of the news. The Bremen was closely followed by the maiden voyage of a sister ship, the SS Europa. These two sleek greyhounds – as elegant, safe and comfortable as they were fast – signified a shift in the global balance of power and the reemergence of Germany. They were the first two ships fast enough to manage a weekly schedule across the Atlantic. Before them, three ships had been required.

Germany’s new ships spurred a wave of new technology and breakthroughs in safety and comfort. The Bremen’s success spurred an intense new rivalry for dominance of the seas. That these speedy, elegant ships could easily be converted in time of war to troop carriers was not lost on any of the world’s leaders.

1933: Italy’s Rex 

Oceanliner poster of Rex and Conte Di Savoia 1930s

Giovanni Patrone, 6 1/2 days to New York, 1932

 In 1933 Italy’s Rex, the pride of Mussolini, usurped the title of world’s fastest ship from the Bremen, and was quickly joined by its own sister ship, the Conte di Savoia. The advertisement emphasized the Line’s sunny “Southern Route” which avoided the terrible cold of the more frequented northern passage.

The route led the Italians to add innovative design elements that have become standard on cruise ships worldwide. The so-called “Lido features” included outdoor swimming pools and extensive open air decks.

1935: France’s Normandie

Normandie, AM Cassandre, oceanliner, poster 1930s

 A.M. Cassandre, Normandie, 1935

In 1935, France’s Normandie seized the title. The ship itself was a symbol of national honor. From the outset, its mission was to be the largest and fastest ocean liner, and the “ultimate expression of the artistic and scientific genius” of France. Despite a global Depression and fierce competition from Italy, Germany and England, the Normandie succeeded on all counts. It was the first liner to sustain a speed of 30 knots, and on its very first transatlantic voyage captured the Blue Ribbon for the fastest crossing ever — 4 days and a little more than 3 hours.

1936: Great Britain’s Queen Mary

RMS Queen Mary, poster, oceanliner 1930s

A. Roquin, Cunard White Star (RMS Queen Mary & Queen Elizabeth), 1939

A year later Britain finally regained the crown with its much delayed RMS Queen Mary. And on the eve of WWII, it was joined by its own running mate, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, which entered service as a troop carrier. The two ships would survive the war and dominated the Atlantic passenger market until the rise of the airlines spelled their obsolescence.

Shop ocean liner posters

 

“The Eagle has Landed”: Posters of the Space Race

Fifty years ago today the race to the moon culminated with the landing of the Apollo spacecraft and man’s first walk on the moon the following day. Here are a few original  posters from our Space Race archives:

Apple Think Differently Moonwalk

Apple. Think different. 1997

This Apple poster was part of an advertising campaign that commemorated daring dreams that changed the world, from Einstein and Picasso to man’s first walk on the moon in 1969.

Anonymous, Let’s Conquer Space! , 1960

The Soviet Union set off the Space Race in 1957 with the successful launch into orbit of Sputnik, the first artificial earth satellite. The Soviet program took a major leap forward in April of 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth. This poster, which shows a cosmonaut at the controls of his space capsule in front of a moon-filled window, was designed before his successful mission.

The Soviet’s success also spurred the United States, which had experienced a number of failures in its early space ventures, into action. A month after Gagarin’s success, President Kennedy gave a speech at Rice University that called for the United States to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

Sokolov and Leonov, Glory to the Explorers of Space! 1971

This stunningly beautiful poster celebrates the launch of the first space station, Salyut 1, to orbit the earth by the Russians in 1971. It was launched a full two years before the United States’ Skylab and marked a triumph for the Soviet Union after its inability to beat the US to the moon.

The effort continues to bear fruit as a foundation of the international space station program.  The Outer Space Treaty was signed by the US, Soviet Union and Great Britain in 1967 to ensure the peaceful use of space and has now been signed by 109 nations. In the 21st century, a new space race is underway, with several nations taking part, the most ambitious being China and the United States.

London Underground Poster Series by Severin Discovered

We are thrilled to have discovered one of the most delightful poster series ever created for the London Underground – the rare, 4-part series by Mark Severin, an accomplished Belgian artist who spent the Thirties in London. Severin cleverly used the Underground logo as a moving clock dial to mark the evening’s activities.

 

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Why go home? (London Underground) by Mark Severin (1938)

 

Severin’s designs are a highlight in what is considered the greatest single company poster series ever. Some 5,000 posters were created, many during the 32 year reign of Frank Pick, its legendary head til 1940. London was by 1900 the biggest city in the world, and Pick wanted to use posters to build traffic on the new system’s underused lines, especially during off-peak hours, in a handsome and friendly way.

Pick primarily focused on leisure destinations to increase nonessential, off-peak journeys. Early on his team created the world famous logo and design system that is still in use today. His fine eye and endless creativity led to his discovery of top artists such as McKnight Kauffer and commissions for world famous designers such as John Hassall, Abram Games, Andre Marty, Andrew Power, Zero, and Man Ray.

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Why wait till later? (London Underground) by Mark Severin (1938)

 

In the late Thirties, with war tensions simmering, Pick wanted to promote ways to get Londoners to extend their work day in the city before traveling home. Severin’s series, showing the activities hour by hour on a clock made of the Underground logo became an instant classic.

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Why home so soon? (London Underground) by Mark Severin (1938)

 

Vibrant scenes of restaurants (for after work snacks and later for supper) and crowded movie theatre (Ronald Coleman in If I were King) were followed by The Way Home, one of the best late night city scenes to be found in poster art. Severin’s incisive caricature of Londoners heading to “the tube” perfectly evokes the rich tableau of big city life.

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The way home (London Underground) by Mark Severin (1938)

View all London Underground posters

New Acquisition: Rare Election Posters by Ben Shahn

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For Full Employment After the War – Register to Vote – CIO Political Action Committee by Ben Shahn, 1944

The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) was created in 1938 after its split from the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The main difference was a focus on industry-wide organizing rather than by craft.

In 1943, the CIO formed its Political Action Committee, the very first PAC. Its agenda: the reelection of Franklin Roosevelt, and they wisely hired leading social activist Ben Shahn as its head artist. This famous poster powerfully captured that effort, with two welders seemingly looking into the uncertain future. The poster also addressed the Administration’s efforts to eliminate racial discrimination in war industries, in contrast to the more segregated approach of the AFL.

Shahn’s CIO posters are quite rare; this is a particularly fine specimen.

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Warning! Inflation means Depression – Register, Vote by Ben Shahn, 1946

Shahn’s 1946 poster of a Depression era farmer served as a reminder that rampant post-war inflation could plunge the country into a new era of hard times.  Once again, his posters promoted voter registration as a key to making sure that a Democratic victory would yield the vigorous program to overcome this danger.  Shahn made several strong designs for the CIO in 1946, his last year for his work there.

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A good man is hard to find / Progressive Party by Ben Shahn, 1948

Two years later, Shahn’s growing disenchantment with the major parties ripened into his full-fledged support of the Progressive Party. Here, Shahn’s frustration results in a bitingly sarcastic view of Truman and Dewey, the major party candidates, playing on the piano and singing along to “A Good Man is Hard to Find”.

Classic Posters, the Olympics, and the Romance of Rio

The 31st Summer Olympic Games are here! This is the first Olympics to be held in South America, and the first ever in a Portuguese speaking country. More than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries will compete in 26 sports.

The Games will be held in Rio, one of the world’s legendary cities and the 2nd largest in Brazil. Despite all the challenges to this Olympiad, the exotic romance of Rio has been undeniable since its discovery in 1565. We pay tribute to the city of beaches, bossa nova and Carnival in original posters from our archives and current stock:

BRX22186Rio Brazil – Wonderful City! by Joa (c. 1950)

The “geometric wave” design of Copacabana’s boardwalk is beneath the dramatic peaks of Corcovado and Sugarloaf – a brilliant Mid-Century Design.

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Rio de Janeiro by Royal Mail to South America by Kenneth Shoesmith (c. 1935)  

Rio – Swedish American Line, by Ake Rittmark (1937)

Two Art Deco ocean liner posters from the Thirties feature stunning vistas and exotic Brazilian beauties for the rich and famous who could afford the time and money to make the journey.

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Fly to Rio by Clipper – Pan American World Airways by Mark Von Arensburg (c. 1950)

Flying Down to Rio in Five Days via Pan American by Paul G. Lawler (c. 1939)

These are the most iconic Pan Am posters to Rio, one before WWII and the other after. Lawler’s magnificent early aviation poster borrows the title from the 1933 film, Flying Down to Rio starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and shows a Clipper Ship flying over Sugarloaf from behind the Christ Statue on the summit of Mt. Corcovado. The 1950s design is a remarkable day and night view highlighting the city’s natural beauty and a Carnival Samba dancer below a full moon.

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Air France – Amerique du Sud by Victor Vasarely (1946)

Vasarely’s poster from 1946 is surely the most romantic of all Air France posters, and reflects the rise of Rio as a top destination after the war. The future Op Art master created a dazzling geometric pattern on the waves (perhaps inspired by Copacabana’s boardwalk) as a Lockheed Constellation heads into Rio at sunset. 

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Hotel California – Rio de Janeiro (c. 1955)

An ingenious luggage label for a hotel on Copacabana Beach (its location marked by the arrow) that is clearly the place to be.

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Beneath the Southern Cross, RIO is Calling (c. 1950)
Only seen in the Southern hemisphere, the 4 star constellation known as the Southern Cross is visible from the deck of a cruise ship approaching Rio. The Fifties were a golden age of cruising to South America for Americans. This M & M Line tour was 38 days!

Rio de Janeiro by Howard Koslow (1963)
An incredibly romantic Sixties travel poster of Rio and Guanabara Bay at nightfall.

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Rio – Braniff International Airways by Artist Unknown (c. 1960)

Rio – Braniff International Airways by Artist Unknown (c. 1960)

Playfulness takes center stage in these Mad Men era posters for Braniff, an American airline that specialized in routes in the Western Hemisphere.

View all in-stock Olympics posters
View all in-stock Rio posters

For a History of Olympic Posters:

Picturing The Olympics: A History of the Games In 15 Posters
//www.wbur.org/artery/2014/02/06/olympics-posters

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International Poster Gallery
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P (617) 375-0076
info@internationalposter.com

Beautiful, Rare & Meaningful Posters from around the Globe.