Air France: French West Africa and Extrême Orient

August 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

After World War Two commercial air travel was, for the first time accessible to the public. Wartime technological advancements including radar and improvements in engineering led to faster, safer, and larger planes. An adventurous traveler could now leave their continent and in less than a day find themselves on the other side of the globe. Travel posters, always a tool of mass communication, showed exotic destinations as a means of announcing, “The world is now open to all.” Air France, one of the preeminent airlines both before and after WWII, employed the poster expertly. Their routes traced a history of commerce and many were carved out through colonialism. It is interesting to look at Air France’s choices of which destinations to promote to tourists in their advertising posters and also to examine the images used to evoke adventure, exoticism and ownership.

Although the war afforded advancements in technology and global economics, other institutions, like colonialism, persisted. Many European countries held stake in colonies thousands of miles apart. The British Empire’s holdings in India, the Middle East, and East Africa are often at the forefront of people’s minds, however, France and even smaller nations like Belgium and Portugal were key colonial players. France held power in North and West Africa as well as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and the Caribbean.

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Of the Allied powers, the French suffered particular hardship during WWII. As a Nazi occupied nation and one situated on the front lines, France’s infrastructure and economy were decimated by the end of war. Despite this, companies like Air France thrived in the new postwar environment. Flights around France, Europe, and the French colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean became increasingly popular. France’s colonial presences in West Africa and the Far East or L’Extrême Orient, especially Vietnam, made travel to these locations seem exotic yet possible. Posters, like the ones below, were created to market these destinations. The posters themselves, very similar in subject matter, speak to the ethos of the time.

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The West Africa poster was created in 1949 by Albert Brenet and shows two young men in a West African pirogue with their prey. This striking image makes references to the exotic bounty of the colony and would have grabbed the attention of any passer by.

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Extrême Orient by Vincent Guerra, was printed in in 1950 and features a beautiful bay and mountain scene with fishermen in their woven topped junks. The prominence of the plane shows France’s ownership of this scene as if to say “It’s ours- come explore it.” Both of these images seem to symbolize a rural, bucolic lifestyle that wasn’t quite the reality (pg. 130 Air France, https://www.scribd.com/document/54130846/The-Junk-Blue-Book). The Vietnam of the 1950s was fully embroiled in a war for its independence, first from the Japanese, then the French, culminating in the Vietnam War.

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West Africa suffered similar hardships at the hand of its colonial rulers. While embroiled in bureaucratic struggles for recognition by the French Government, the native peoples of these West African nations, (Sénégal, Mali, Côte D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, French Guinea, Benin, and Niger) were treated as subjects not citizens. Independence came in March of 1962 after the bloody Algerian War.

Today the colonial references on these posters are so obvious as to be almost embarrassing to the Western viewer. But they are an indelible record of the prevailing attitudes of the time period, as are all advertising posters. It’s important that they be preserved so that their messages are not forgotten.

 

This post was written by Susannah Starr, Summer Intern and Elizabeth Norris, Proprietor of Vintage European Posters.

 Established 1997

Member IVPDA

Our Shop: 2201 Fourth Street, Berkeley Corner of Allston Way

Summer Hours Tuesday- Thursday 11-5 

and select weekends 

Also available by appointment 

Please call 510 843 2201 or email vintageposters@vepca.com to confirm hours.

Visit our collection on the web at vepca.com

Cognac Sauvion

July 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

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by J. Stall, Printed 1925 in France, Original Lithograph on cardboard

A playful poster featuring a Pierrot popping out from a solid black background. This example was printed on cardboard or ‘carton’ as it is called in France. The piece has a string looped through grommets at the top. These window cards were designed to hang in store windows or directly on cash registers as ‘point of purchase’ advertising.

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters 

Vintage European Posters is a Berkeley based dealer of
Original French & American Advertising Posters.
Our Showroom is located at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, corner of Allston Way.
Summer of 2016 we are open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11-5
and select weekends. Please call ahead to confirm our hours.

Established in 1997, VEP now exhibits at 12 shows per year in California including
Dwell on DesignPalm Springs Modernism, and the Healdsburg Antiques on the Plaza. 

Our website www.vepca.com  is always up to date. 

La Bouillie Soleil

July 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Anonymous, Printed in France circa 1930 Original Stone Lithograph

This clever piece was created in the Art Deco period and features the high contrast colors which characterizes art deco graphic style. This poster is aimed at the small vintner and advertises a product “La Bouillie Soleil” which is described as a pulp or mash – and so probably includes both fertilizer and sulfur, and perhaps an insecticide. The tag line ‘the savior of your harvest.’ Is a reference to phylloxera, an aphid borne disease which had wiped out French vineyards in the mid 19th century. These products were essential in the reestablishment of French vineyards. The cards are meant to symbolize luck and therefore suggest that the user is a lucky farmer or wine maker.

 

 

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters 

Vintage European Posters is a Berkeley based dealer of
Original French & American Advertising Posters.
Our Showroom is located at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, corner of Allston Way.
Summer of 2016 we are open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11-5
and select weekends. Please call ahead to confirm our hours.

Established in 1997, VEP now exhibits at 12 shows per year in California including
Dwell on DesignPalm Springs Modernism, and the Healdsburg Antiques on the Plaza. 

Our website www.vepca.com  is always up to date. 

Cycles Lea

July 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Anonymous, Printed in Belgium, circa 1910 Original Stone Lithograph

The bicycle was invented in the 1860’s and so was still a ‘new technology’ at the time this poster was made. European roads were used by horses and carriages and weren’t ideal for cycling, so velodromes and tracks were favored by early enthusiasts. This piece shows a track cyclist, intent on his goal of winning the race. The advertisement is for the bicycle and brags about the ball bearings which are ‘proven’ on the best courses. The artist does a tremendous job with detail and in particular captures the details of the bicycle all the way down to the toe clips.

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters 

Vintage European Posters is a Berkeley based dealer of
Original French & American Advertising Posters.
Our Showroom is located at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, corner of Allston Way.
Summer of 2016 we are open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11-5
and select weekends. Please call ahead to confirm our hours.

Established in 1997, VEP now exhibits at 12 shows per year in California including
Dwell on DesignPalm Springs Modernism, and the Healdsburg Antiques on the Plaza. 

Our website www.vepca.com  is always up to date. 

“Side by Side Britannia” and British American Friendship

July 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Side by Side

Original Poster by James Montgomery Flagg, printed 1918

World War One, 1914-1919, was a hugely pivotal and defining aspect of the 20th Century. Not only did it, as the first example of total mechanized warfare, change the way nations operated on a geopolitical scale but it also set in motion cultural shifts that are continuously felt today. Social structures across Europe began to break down and the United States emerged from the war victorious and in a new position of power.

This victory formed an alliance between the United States and Great Britain that has persisted through World War Two and into the 21st Century. To commemorate this alliance 26 days after the official armistice the United States celebrated Britain’s Day. On the 7th of December, 1918 festivities took place in cities all across the country. This holiday remembered the noble sacrifice made by British troops and honored the alliance between the two powerful Empires. British and American flags flew together proudly while dinners and outdoor concerts helped mark the occasion. Special contingents of Canadian soldiers were welcomed in towns and cities along the U.S-Canadian border as Canada was an important member of the British Empire and the United State’s closest neighbor. The celebratory nature came coupled with eulogies and solemn words spoken in remembrance of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting on land and at sea.  

To mark Britain’s Day as a national event James Montgomery Flagg was chosen by the U.S. Government to create a poster. As one of the most famous artist and illustrators of his day, Flagg was an easy choice. His 1917 “I want YOU for the U.S. Army” poster featuring the now iconic Uncle Sam, gave a face and style to the United States’ war effort. It’s even said that he used himself as the model for the stern and commanding image. In his 1918 poster, Side By Side Britannia!, the choice to show Uncle Sam arm in arm with the lady Britannia epitomizes the relationship forged by war while also paving the way for a brighter future. Uncle Sam stands proud and jovial while Britannia walks by his side, stoic in her centurion’s helmet and Roman toga (her image was first seen around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43). Both figures are seen walking forwards over the crest of a hill flanked by animals that represent their nations. The white eagle could symbolize the purity and and freedom of the United States while Britannia’s lion, a symbol of the British Empire dating back to the 12th century, epitomizes strength, courage, and honor.

As you can see this poster has a strip of white across the bottom with red lettering. Each copy of this poster had the white band left blank by the printing house, in this case the American Lithographic Company of New York,  and the red text would be printed later to reflect the information that was unique to each location the poster was hung. In this specific case the red lettering was added in Denver, Colorado and gave the dates and locations of the city’s Britain’s Day celebration. This handy device helped with military recruitment and celebrations but was also implemented by travel boards all over the U.S. and Europe. It’s a fascinating addition that can help establish where a poster was hung and in some cases the specific dates it was on display. Many artifacts and pieces of cultural history aren’t able to open windows to the past this wide and with such clear views backwards.  

 

This post was written by Susannah Starr, Summer Intern and Edited by
Elizabeth Norris, Proprietor of Vintage European Posters
Established 1997
Member IVPDA

Our Shop:2201 Fourth Street, Berkeley Corner of Allston Way
Summer Hours Tuesday- Thursday 11-5
and select weekends
Also available by appointment

Please call 510 843 2201 or email vintage posters@vepca.com to confirm hours.

Visit our collection on the web at vepca.com

 

Original Nuova Zolforatrice poster

July 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

Printed in Italy, circa 1900

Original Stone Lithograph

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Italian Art Nouveau poster advertising a sulfur and sulfur applicator. There are many early posters advertising fertilizers, sulfurs and other products for vineyard care. Rather than being aimed at large scale agriculture producers, they were intended for the home viticulturist. This piece features a particularly beautiful hand made typestyle and unusual colors. The Italian Art Nouveau style is often called ‘heroic’ and shows the influenceof classical Italian figurative style. This framed poster is currently on display in Healdsburg’s Barn Diva gallery

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters 

Vintage European Posters is a Berkeley based dealer of
Original French & American Advertising Posters.
Our Showroom is located at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, corner of Allston Way.
Summer of 2016 we are open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11-5
and select weekends. Please call ahead to confirm our hours.

Established in 1997, VEP now exhibits at 12 shows per year in California including
Dwell on DesignPalm Springs Modernism, and the Healdsburg Antiques on the Plaza. 

Our website www.vepca.com  is always up to date. 

Nitrolian by Leonetto Cappiello

July 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

Printed in Paris in 1929
Original Stone Lithograph

Nitrolian Leonetto Cappiello Original poster products

“Nitrolian” 1929, Paris, printed by Maison Devambez

Cappiello is one of the most important poster artists of the 20th Century.He studied art in his native Italy, entering art school at the age of 13, and arrived in Paris during the Belle Epoque era, and at the height of poster design. He first worked doing caricatures of famous actresses such as Sarah Bernhardt, but soon turned his attention to the production of commercial posters. Cappiello’s use of bold colors and sharp contrasts was a departure from the early masters of the medium- Jules Cheret Alphonse Mucha and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. And foreshadowed art deco. Cappiello created his first poster in 1899 and very soon, was in constant demand. Over the course of his 40 year career, he created over 1,000 posters and enjoyed life in Paris as a successful working artist.

Nitrolian advertises fast drying paint and the design brilliantly explains the product without words –showing an elegant lady descending a staircase as a well appointed painter paves her way with red paint. Cappiello repeats the design of the poster on the paint can- a clever form of branding. This framed poster is currently on display in Healdsburg’s Barn Diva gallery

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters 

Vintage European Posters is a Berkeley based dealer of
Original French & American Advertising Posters.
Our Showroom is located at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, corner of Allston Way.
Summer of 2016 we are open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11-5
and select weekends. Please call ahead to confirm our hours.

Established in 1997, VEP now exhibits at 12 shows per year in California including
Dwell on DesignPalm Springs Modernism, and the Healdsburg Antiques on the Plaza. 

Our website http://www.vepca.com  is always up to date.