Lot 180: HERNANDO G. VILLA (1881-1952). CHICAGO WORLD'S FAIR 1933. 41x27 inches, 105x67 cm. Newman-Monroe Co., Chicago.
November 11, 2011
New York, NY, USALive Auction
HERNANDO G. VILLA (1881-1952) CHICAGO WORLD'S FAIR 1933.
41 1/2x27 1/2 inches, 105 1/2x67 cm. Newman-Monroe Co., Chicago.
Condition B+: restoration, restored losses and over-painting in margins; creases and restoration in image.
Villa, who was born in Los Angeles to an artist father, became a painter and taught at the Los Angeles School of Art. Throughout his career he also spent 44 years designing advertising for the Santa Fe Railroad. Regarded for his Western paintings, he is best remembered for his work for the railroad, specifically his personification of the railroad's locomotive, The Chief. For the World's Fair in Chicago, he presents an unusual allegorical image of the Santa Fe Railroad "serving up Chicago on a silver tray." A previously unexplored possibility is that poster may have originally been designed to advertise the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, for which a figure with a laurel wreath would have been much more appropriate. Villa did in fact design a Santa Fe poster for the Olympics that year, featuring Indians, with no clear visual connection to the games themselves. According to the Library of Congress Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Villa copyrighted this Chicago poster in 1931. This early date suggests that he may well have designed two images for the Olympics. When the railroad chose the other image, Villa allotted this design for another upcoming project; the Chicago World's Fair. This poster was re-issued in 1934 bearing the new date and slightly more text. rare/span