• BOSTON, Massachusetts
  • /
  • March 08, 2013

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Chateau D’Amboise - Chemins Fer d’Orleans, Constant-Duval, 1922
Venezia, A.M. Cassandre, 1956
Messageries Maritimes / Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee, E. d'Argence, 1909

Free vintage poster exhibit explores impact of advertising on international travel industry in the 20th century.

Grand Circle Gallery announces Innovation & Inspiration: Advertising in the Golden Age of Travel, a display of vintage travel posters that reflect the growth of the lithographic poster and its impact on the emerging international travel industry. The exhibition is free, open to the public, and will run from March 6 through June 15, 2013, at Grand Circle Gallery, 347 Congress Street, Boston.

Innovation & Inspiration features more than 20 original lithographs dating from the early 20th century though the 1950s, when lithographic prints became mainstream and promoted leisure travel. 

Posters will transport visitors to a time when luxurious ocean liners crossed the Atlantic, steam-trains sped over tracks across the European continent—a time when “getting there” was more than half the fun. Bold graphics and decorative typography educated and tempted consumers to enter an era of intercontinental exploration.

As railroads, ocean liners, and eventually, mass airline travel sprang up, lithographic poster art became a marvel in its own. Jules Cheret, widely considered the “father of the poster,” devised the “three stone process” that made the mass production of large color lithographs possible for the first time. Cheret’s breakthrough allowed artists to achieve complex colors with as little as three stones—usually red, yellow and blue—printed in careful registration in individual runs through the press. Through commissions, masters of the printmaking technique created posters that became exquisite fixtures in kiosks and train stations across America and Europe.

“It’s hard to believe that just over 100 years ago the full color advertising poster was a new concept,” says Grand Circle Gallery Director Mark Schianca. “Innovations & Inspirations takes a look at how ads have changed in style and reflect growth in the early days of international tourism.” 

Innovation & Inspiration: Advertising in the Golden Age of Travel, includes works of notable poster artists Hugo D’Alesi, A.M. Cassandre, Emil Cardinaux, and Constant-Duval. Cassandre’s 1927 Nord Express redefined the travel poster design genre and promotes one of Europe’s premier luxury trains, bringing to life the era of thrill and exploration.

Accompanying the exhibition are annotated displays classifying the stylistic development through the 1900s, beginning with elegant “Landscape Style” posters and spanning to the rise of the airlines and mass travel, when jets made air travel economical, fast and safe.

On consignment from Boston’s International Poster Gallery is an array of luggage tags. Starting around 1890, suitcases adorned with luggage labels functioned as one of the earliest forms of viral promotion.

Grand Circle Gallery is open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 12:00pm to 6:00pm and Thursday 12:00pm to 7:00pm, as well as by appointment. Admission is FREE and the gallery is handicap accessible. For more information and event updates, visit or call 617.346.6459.



Grand Circle Gallery
347 Congress Street
Boston, Massachusetts
About Grand Circle Gallery

GRAND CIRCLE GALLERY is part of Grand Circle Corporation, the leader in international travel, adventure and discovery for Americans age 50 and older. Since 1992, its charitable arm Grand Circle Foundation has donated or pledged $92 million to more than 300 educational, humanitarian and cultural organizations worldwide, including 100 schools, in 50 countries. In 2010, Grand Circle owners Alan and Harriet Lewis opened the free Grand Circle Gallery to the public in thanksgiving for 25 years of business in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood.

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