Poster experts at International Poster Gallery (IPG) have assembled an unparalleled lineup of original vintage posters from around the globe for the gallery’s 17th annual holiday poster show, “Favorite Things”. The show focuses on the newest and very best additions to IPG’s massive collection of over 5,000 original vintage posters and works on paper. The show is free and open to the public and is on view through January 15 at International Poster Gallery, located at 205 Newbury Street in Boston. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday noon to 6 pm. Call (617) 375-0076 or visit www.internationalposter.com
Highlighting this exciting exhibition is Peter Birkhauser’s 1942 poster for the Swiss department store Rheinbrucke. The poster is a fine example from the hugely popular Swiss Object Poster style, which sought to create unforgettable icons out of everyday objects. This elegant poster of a wrapped box is a perfect example of Birkhauser’s prowess as a designer in the Object Poster genre. The crisp folds of the wrapping paper, the trompe l’oeil affect of the green string and the whimsical flip of the handle turn this seemingly simple image in to a graphically succinct masterpiece. Birkhauser created more than 50 Object Poster masterpieces during the Thirties, Forties and early Fifties, and this is one of his finest.
Also featured is a 1957 design for Dartmouth College’s Winter Carnival. This striking and playful poster was designed by John Scotford, who attended the college as a student and later returned to both teach and serve as the College Designer. The poster advertises the Dartmouth Skiway, which was established in 1956 and is still a popular recreation facility today.
Another fresh pick from IPG is Georges Hamel’s 1935 poster for the Monaco Grand Prix. Hamel, who signed his works “Geo Ham”, created his first poster for the event in 1933 and continued through 1937, the last race before a 10-year hiatus surrounding the war years. Ham’s designs are paragons of the auto racing poster genre. This particular poster is one of his finest and rarest, showing a hurtling Mercedes silver arrow with the glittering Monte Carlo skyline as a backdrop. Capturing a fleeting moment as the vehicle becomes airborne, the racing machine appears to explode off the paper.
In addition to full-size original posters, the exhibition also features a wealth of vintage luggage labels, the smaller-format cousin of the advertising poster. One such example is a label by an anonymous artist, depicting a group of three towering steamer vessels. The label advertises Norddeuscher Lloyd, a German company made famous for both its shipping and passenger services. The company, which was established in 1857, was originally known for its expansive shipping routes. A boom in passenger travel during the 20’s and 30’s necessitated an expanded marketing campaign, resulting in the creation of these beautiful luggage labels.
In addition to gallery shows and special exhibitions, IPG’s award-winning website, www.internationalposter.com offers the largest, most comprehensive online collection of vintage advertising posters in the world. Originally launched in 1998, the site contains nearly 4,500 images accessible through a powerful search engine.