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Beckoning travelers to distant and glamorous destinations, full-color and dazzling posters were used by travel agencies and visitors bureaus to woo the vacationer to distant and exotic places. Travel posters began as advertising, not art, and sold the allure of travel itself. In their ability to awaken one’s dreams of exploration, sense of adventure, and desire to experience the world anew, they remain one of the most popular and collectible types of posters to date.
The first half of the 20th century marked the gilded age of travel, when the journey was equally important to the destination, and the elegant affair of boarding the airplane or the ocean liner meant dressing for the occasion of travel. The early to mid-20th century also marked an incredible time for the graphic arts and design as the swirling, whiplash curves found in Art Nouveau gave way to the symmetry and geometry of Art Deco.
The cerebral and soaring posters by A.M. Cassandre of the ocean liners the Normandie, Statendam and Atlantique ocean liners, which epitomized modern travel in the Industrial Age. Boasting every locale traveler could dream of, the vintage travel poster could be found on booths and railways stations across America and Europe.
NASA created a series of posters echoing the WPA’s mid-1930’s travel prints advertising four potentially habitable exo-planets as interstellar tourist destinations
In June of 2014, the 1931 poster “L’Atlantique,” by A.M. Cassandre, was auctioned off by Christie’s London for $50,880
Between the 1890s and 1930s, Viennese merchant Julius Paul collected more than 6,000 posters. Swann auctioned his collection, estimating that the value of his 200 finest travel posters ranged from $400 to $7500