As part of our “travel back in time” series, here’s a look at some stunning poster designs promoting travel by ship during the early to mid 20th century. This breathtaking 1931 L’Atlantique poster by Adolphe Mouron Cassandre (1901-1968) starts us off on our journey; little can beat the timeless appeal of the artwork by one of the greatest poster designers:
Whether advertising ferry services, short voyages or long distance cruising holidays, shipping companies looked to beat competition and entice people to travel the high seas with them to reach their destinations and discover new lands in luxurious comfort. Although flying took over as a more viable option for many as a quicker means of travel during the post-war jet age, cruises remained a popular choice as holidays in themselves, offering trips ashore and the opportunity to relax and unwind through the variety of on-board facilities and entertainment.
One of the world’s largest shipping companies, Hamburg-America Line (established 1847; now Hapag-Lloyd), initially offered cruises to Europe and North America before expanding its operations to cover all continents. These 1930s posters advertising the Hamburg-Amerika Linie were designed by German artist, Albert Fuss (1889-1969):
The classic 1930s Art Deco style in the use of bold text and colours is captured wonderfully in these posters promoting far-flung cruises to exotic countries and short-hop ferry rides:
This rare and very large poster for Cunard White Star featuring their flagship ocean liner launched in 1934, R.M.S. Queen Mary (now moored in California as a museum and hotel), with the slogan “America this year!” above the city skyline that’s almost dwarfed by the vast ship, really captures the essence of the era:
During the Second World War, many passenger cruise ships were taken over for the use of troops, supplies and other wartime services. The Normandie was one such ship: This French ocean liner was built for the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique as the most powerful steam turbo-electric-propelled passenger ship ever built and the most luxurious and largest ocean liner afloat at the time, rivalled only by the RMS Queen Mary. After being seized in New York by the Americans during World War Two and renamed USS Lafayette, the liner caught fire in 1942 while being converted into a troop ship and was scrapped in 1946. This 1985 printer’s proof poster commemorates 50 years since her launch:
This ocean liner, SS Roma, was built in 1926 and taken over by the Italian Navy for conversion into an aircraft carrier in 1939 for World War Two, renamed Aquila. In 1943 she was seized by the German forces and was partially sunk at Genoa by Italian two-men torpedoes in 1945. She was finally scrapped in 1951/2. The rather majestic design of this 1920s poster serves as a good reminder of the ship’s more celebrated launch years:
After the War, advertising during the 1950s-1960s returned in glorious mid-century style technicolour promising festivities and fun on board, providing passengers a chance to fully enjoy their holiday time travelling by ship rather than by plane:
Click on the image links above or visit our website at www.antikbar.co.uk for more information on this selection and to browse all our original vintage posters. For more updates, follow us on:
AntikBar is a Member of the International Vintage Poster Dealers’ Association (IVPDA), the London Art Deco Society (LADS) and The Association of Art and Antiques Dealers (LAPADA).
We love this great example of a stunning home designed around a collection of art and antiques, including original vintage posters:
“Edward’s collection of vintage posters (Fritz Lang’s Metropolis broods over the hall) may have been overpowering but Philippa was careful to choose gutsy 1940s antiques with enough presence to match the boldness of the Deco artworks…”
Caption: “For vintage posters try www.AntikBar.co.uk”
Read the full article in the October 2013 issue of Homes & Gardens magazine, pages 72 to 81.
Posters are a great way to add colour and an individually unique statement to any room of the home or office, including a cinema room, child’s playroom and holiday retreat, and they can be suited to the size and budget as required. The variety of subjects and styles in poster design make them adaptable to any interior design, from contemporary to traditional, and perfect as a gift. Original vintage posters are also highly collectible and are recognised as a sound art investment. As antique and vintage items, they are also eco-friendly.
AntikBar is a London-based online business specialising in original vintage posters covering a variety of subjects – travel, advertising, sport, cinema, war and propaganda – from around the world, mainly from the late 1800s to 1970s. We attend fairs and events throughout the year and offer worldwide delivery, collection advice, consultancy and search on demand services for collectors, individual clients and interior designers. We will be at the next Decorative Fair from 1-6 October and at the Spirit of Christmas Fair from 5-10 November; further information on these events are listed on our News & Events page.
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AntikBar is a Member of the International Vintage Poster Dealers Association (IVPDA).
Skiing posters, like many advertising posters, were originally produced to entice holiday-makers and winter thrill-seekers to resorts and alpine areas. The early- to mid-century skiing posters were often designed by notable artists of the time and are colourful, dynamic, glamorous, nostalgic and stylish, sometimes also fun and quirky. The ones that survived now make for a good investment, ideal for decorating chalets and “back home” as a stunning reminder of a memorable ski trip. Christie’s hosts an annual ski auction every January and has recently seen an increase in popularity and demand for these eye-catching, unique designs.
The Antiques Trade Gazette commented on the 2013 record-breaking results seen in the annual Christie’s ski auction: “What better way to relive that exhilarating ski holiday in the Alps than an eye-catching vintage poster of a breath-taking mountain view or athletic skier’s descent through perfect white powder?… The fact that so few have survived adds to their value and attraction. In general, a poster with plenty of decorative appeal showcasing a prestigious resort, such as a Swiss or French one, will be the most sought-after. Often style, rarity, artist and condition are of secondary importance to the buyer. Yet, as is the case with many collectors, they choose to buy simply because they love a particular poster, and…buyers should also have an appreciating asset… Selling rates and prices have climbed consistently in recent years…” (pp6-7, issue 2079, 23/1/13)
Following the 2012 ski sale at Christie’s, Katherine Higgens commented in Homes and Antiques: “Conjuring snowy peaks and the glamour of apres ski, it’s no wonder vintage ski posters are whooshing out of the salesrooms… Launching into the ski poster market is easier than you might think. A good starting point is to focus on locations you have visited. After that, what you select is governed by how much you want to spend… Posters for popular resorts tend to be the most expensive.”
Visit www.AntikBar.co.uk to browse our selection of original vintage skiing posters available to purchase online with worldwide delivery. Please contact us if you have any specific requests or queries.