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’s designs are a highlight in what is considered the greatest single company poster series ever, some 5,000 posters many created 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 in a handsome and friendly way.
Why go home? (London Underground) by Mark Severin (1938)
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.
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.
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.
The way home (London Underground) by Mark Severin (1938)
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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:
Rio 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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.