Depression, some of history’s most spectacular ships were launched in the late Twenties and early Thirties. The arrival of the Normandie in 1935 signaled the apex of this Golden Age. It was the largest and fastest ocean liner, able to cross the Atlantic in little more than four days, and the ultimate expression of the artistic and scientific genius of France. Posters of this era are classics, and are well represented in this show. Most are executed in a streamlined, Art Deco style, led by 5 posters by A.M. Cassandre. Notable highlights include his most difficult to find and spectacular images l’Atlantique (1931) and Normandie (1935), which capture the scale and power of these Machine Age wonders.
The ongoing global depression and rising international tensions brought an end to this carefree and relaxed world, and when World War II broke out, orders were given to convert the Normandie, the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth into troop carriers. A fervent arms race inspired intense development of faster, more reliable aircraft, which ushered in a permanent decline in the popularity of travel on the high seas. The Golden Age of the Ocean Liner nevertheless continued into the Fifties and early Sixties, often on refurbished liners, but also on a few new super liners such as the SS United States (1952).
A book detailing the entire ocean liner collection is available through IPG. In addition to gallery shows and special exhibitions, IPG’s award-winning website, www.internationalposter.com offers one of the largest, most comprehensive online collection of vintage advertising posters in the world. Originally launched in 1998, the site contains nearly 5000 images accessible through a powerful search engine.
Editor’s Note: • Background and additional digital color images available.
• Interviews with gallery owner Jim Lapides are encouraged.