Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Munich Zoologic Gardens

Ludwig Hohlwein (1874-1949)  c. 1912 Dover Press

This zoo, also called the Hellabrunn Zoo, is in Munich Germany.  Its time line reads like a history book.  In 1911, the zoo was opened, closed in 1922 due to inflation in Germany, reopened in 1928, received extensive damage due to allied war raids, but was able to be reopened in 1945.  What do they do with the zoo animals in time of war or do I really want to know?  Now it is a premier zoo, with many displays that are cageless, with moats instead of bars.

Here are some of the highlights if you visit:

1. The old elephant house, constructed in 1914.
2.  The new jungle house which houses Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Mississippi Alligators
3.  The Aquarium with Piranha feeding
4.  "Dracula's villa" bats fly around you
5.  One of the very few zoos that allow you to take your dog

Dracula's villa sounds interesting.  I like bats.  When we first moved here in Colorado, we would see quite a few fruit bats at dusk, but no more.

And now we come to the end of the challenge -- Whew!  This year I had a theme, Vintage Travel Posters, Australia to the Munich Zoo, which I thought would be easier, but it turns out, not so much.  Thank you to all of you who visited.

Those far away places with strange sounding names,
Far away over the sea,
Those far away places I've been dreaming about,
from a book that I took from a shelf."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yugoslavia.

"Visit Yugoslavia."  The Yugoslavia for which this poster was created is no more. The artist, Janez Trpin, (1908-1973), created the poster in 1935 for Putnik, Yugoslavia's first travel agency.  Check out Christie's auction site.  If you have any original prints of other posters by him, they could be worth over $1800.

Janez Trpin c. 1935  Dover  Press
During the early 1990's, the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia experienced a series of political conflicts and what were called "The Yugoslav Wars."  Since 1995, and the Dayton Peace Accords, Yugoslavia was realigned into seven separate states, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. Kosovo is still a troubled region with conflict over borders. The problems with the former country of Yugoslavia involve older ethnic and religious ties and are complex.

"Yugo-nostalgia" is present in some areas when people yearn for the socialist system and the security it gave them and many still feel they are "Yugoslavs," a bit like Russians yearning for the "good old Socialist days."

I don't know anything about printing, but I noticed in this poster that there are multiple colors, and I think you have to have a separate plate for each color which must have been difficult.  It is striking, though.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for the Unknown -- the African Continent

Artist Unknown.  c. 1936.  Dover Press.
"Fly Air Africa and Visit Africa by Plane."  Artistically, this is one of my favorite posters.  What would Africa have been like in 1936?

Unfortunately, the artist is unknown, but his use of light and shadow and the point of view from passenger to the ground is unusual.

France had many colonies in Africa in 1936 and if you look at the brochure in the man's hand, it shows the air route.  Can you name the six colonies that are part of the air route? The first one is Algeria. They are the black dots on the map. It does not include Morocco or Madagascar. Clicking on the poster makes it larger. 

The gentleman has two bars over his jacket and the lion or Griffin could be the insignia of the airline or something else.  Any ideas?  

I appreciate your comments, they do not have to be about the poster.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for N.C. Wyeth. One of America's greatest illustrators

N.C. Wyeth , April 1932.  Dover  Press
N.C. Wyeth is the artist who created this poster.  Wyeth was a painter/illustrator who was responsible for some unforgettable illustrations especially for children's books. Treasure Island, his masterpiece, made him famous.  He was torn, however, between fine art and illustrations for commercial clients.  This poster would be an example, commissioned by the Pennsylvania Railroad.  There were others; The Saturday Evening Post, Lucky Strike, Cream of Wheat, Banks, Hotels, Posters for America's war effort, and more. "Painting and illustration cannot be mixed -- one cannot merge from one to another," he said.  Commercial art made him wealthy and he found it difficult to break away from painting illustrations to painting for his own pleasure and creativity.

All his children were talented artists, Andrew Wyeth, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Carolyn Wyeth, Ann Wyeth McCoy, and Nathaniel Wyeth.  Jamie Wyeth, a grandson is also famous. 

Even though, he felt constrained by his commercial art, you cannot see the illustrations for Treasure Island and not be swept away by the story and how the paintings made you feel as if you were there with all the characters.
Blind Pew from Chapter 5, Treasure Island

Sadly, he and his grandson were killed at a railway crossing near Chadds Ford, 
Pennsyvania, in 1945. He was 63.

There are books about the Wyeths on Amazon, more information on Wikipedia.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vichy, France. A-Z Challenge Continued.

Roger Broders 1926.  Dover Press
This is a difficult post to write because Vichy, France had a dark side during World War II.  You would never know this if this poster were the only information you had.  During the 1920s and before, Vichy was known as a spa town with its hot springs, beautiful art deco architecture, and night life.   But then in 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France and everything changed.   

Vichy, France became the new French state, with sovereignty in the "free zone," with limited authority in the North.  Marshall Petain was appointed Premier of France.  He collaborated with the German occupying force in exchange for an agreement not to divide France between the Axis powers.  

General Charles de Gaulle, exiled in London, claimed the exiled government to be the legitimate government.  This was a terrible period in France's history.  You have to remember that at this time, Germany appeared to be the sure victor.

Many historians believe the collaboration with the German occupying forces went further than necessary. In July, 1942, under German orders, the French police began the rounding up of Jews and others to be sent to interment camps, then to Auschwitz.  The police arrested 13,152 Jews,  including 4,051 children, which the Germans had not asked for.  This represented more than one quarter of the 42,000 French Jews sent to concentration camps.  There was no effective police resistance.  In 1995 President Jacques Chirac officially apologized for the participation of French police. 

There were French resistance fighters who tried hard to do whatever they could to fight against the occupiers, and when some were caught, the Vichy government was especially cruel.

After France's liberation in the summer of 1944, most of the Vichy government leaders fled, or were put on trial for treason and thousands were killed by the local Resistance forces without trial.  Only four senior Vichy officials were tried for crimes against humanity.  There is so much more to the story.  Wikipedia has a detailed article.

When I first saw this poster in the collection, the name "Vichy" reminded me of this terrible period in France's history.  There are heroes, brave men and women and  collaborators. I think we have to be reminded that evil is still with us and we have to be vigilant in protecting our freedoms.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Umbria, a Perfect Vacation Location

Simonetti, 1927  Dover Press
Ah the ubiquitous "U," just had to use the word although ubiquitous does not fit, meaning "being everywhere."  U's are not everywhere.  Today I chose the only poster in the collection that had a U in the title.  Umbria is a region in Italy, another one unknown to me until now.  

Spleto, or in Latin, Spoletium, is an ancient city in east central Umbria, below the Apennines mountains.  But consider this:  what about taking a trip to Italy, but instead of staying in the expensive major cities, stay in a 16th C. Convent, that sleeps 7, is a suburb location, not far from Rome, and only 64-74 Euros a night?

Notice the Roman Aqueduct in the poster,c. 1927.  Those Italians understood tourism.  If you click on the link, and then "16thc Ex Convent," it should show you this rental and others. 

16c Ex Convent, Huge Arched Windows, Views, Garden, Private Terraces - La Passionata.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for John Henry Twachtman. One of the first American Impressionists.

Dover Press
Twachtman is the artist for this book cover.  Her face and flowing red hair would not be out of place today.  But as I recall my Victorian literature, this lady is ready for bed, her hair is down, not up or in a bun.  And she is wearing a dressing gown, looking very sad somehow.  I have not read the book, the summary of which is on Wikipedia, (they have information about everything), but I like the Art Nouveau style, the flat style and curved lines and perhaps, in 1896, the cover would have encouraged me to buy the book.

John Henry Twachtman, 1853-1902) was one of America's first Impressionists.  A sample of his work is shown below.  Twachtman studied in Germany and Venice.  After returning to New York and not happy with his current art scene, he and others  formed "The Ten," a group of artists who exhibited their art and were more serious about their work than the current (at that time) art associations.  Not only did he create commercial art and fine art, he learned to etch and carried etching plates with him so he could use that technique outdoors. "His art, conversation, and teaching fueled the creative fires of his friends and students."  He died unfortunately of a brain aneurysm at the age of 49.  But he has a permanent place in American art history as his works are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of New York, The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Museum
of Fine Arts in Boston among others.

The  White Bridge, ca. 1895 by John Henry Twachtman

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Scotland. The Midland Railway and Tartans.

Printed in 1904 by the artist Andrew Murray, this Scottish gentleman  is hitch hiking his way figuratively to Scotland using the Midland Railway.  This railway was nationalized in 1947 and went thorough many changes due to its nationalization.

It must have been quite a train ride though, through some beautiful country.  It still is in use today with some modifications.

Midland Railway has much history reflecting ownership, changes, economics and train travel in general.  For more information  check wikipedia.org/wiki/Midland_Railway.

This is one country I have visited a few years ago.  I found the people friendly, the food good, but very hot, and the historical places made real my earlier knowledge of Scotland.

My oldest son's name is Bruce, so I was looking for a Tartan with that name and I did find it and brought back a tie for him with the design.  Its main color was quite orange and I am not sure he ever wore it.  The tartans are lovely though, and knowing their history makes them even more interesting.  And, Bruce has red hair tracing back to some Viking genes, I think. In England, they call red hair "ginger hair."  I am very partial to red heads, both boys and girls, men and women.  In the US, it tends to single you out, as in "the little red-haired boy did that."  

Bruce Tartan, Ancient   
Any knowledge of the Midland Railway or Tartans?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rome. A-Z Challenge Continues.

Roger Broders (1883-1953)   Dover Press.
This poster will give you a different picture of Rome.  The date is 1921 and looking through the Arch of Constantine, we can see the Colosseum, some goats in the foreground and a rather pastoral scene. If you were to visit Rome today, the Colosseum is in the middle of the city.

In Ancient days, the Romans used parts of other sculptures and arches to make new commemorative arches.  This is called spolia.  And you thought re-cycling is new?  Constantine's arch is partly made up of older structures and was dedicated in 315 AD to celebrate Emperor Constantine's victory over Maxentius during the battle of Milvan Bridge.

This is what is fascinating about archeology -- ancient puzzles.  This part is from the ? century; this one depicts what emperor?  And what event? An ancient I-Pad.

Arches have been used through the centuries to commemorate special events and honor heroes with processions and parades.  Ancient Rome used these extensively, and some are still used in recent history.   Constantine's arch was the finish line for the 1960 Olympic marathon.

Paris, Lyon, Mediterranean also known as PLM was a French railway and the poster (1921)  is advertising an express train from Paris to Rome via Lyon.

When is the last time you took a train to a vacation spot?  (not a commuter train).

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for The Quartier Latin. Paris. American Art Nouveau Posters.

Louis John Rhead (1858-1926) Dover Press
When you think of Paris what images come to your mind's eye?  Are they romantic; intellectual; historical; bohemian; revolutionary; literary; -- all of the above or more?  Cafes, American jazz, are all part of scenes past.

Woody Allen's movie, "Paris After Midnight," evoked some of these images which made the movie a hit, one of my personal favorites.

The Latin Quarter in Paris, is on the left bank of the Seine in the 5th and part of the 6th arrondissmont (neighborhood) but why called the Latin Quarter?  During the Middle Ages, Latin was the language spoken in this area which was near the Universities and intellectual gatherings and the site of many protests and social uprisings.

My father, who was a White Russian emigre, lived in Paris for a few years before coming to the United States.  Most White Russians who remained in Russia were killed. Paris welcomed them, for a while, but that is another story.  When my father arrived in the United States few years later, he had a French accent; people called him "Frenchy."  And, voila, he changed his last name to French.  When my sister and I arrived on the scene years later, that was our last name.  We never knew the real name of my dad.

His Paris was the Paris of the 1920's and early 30's and when we could get him to talk about it years later, he was circumspect and did not divulge much information.  We did hear a bit about Apache dancers, hot chocolate, some of the later singers, but not much more.  He died when my sister and I were young and not much interested in his past, regrettably, and now that family history is lost to us.

The literary magazine, "The Quartier Latin," from which this poster is printed, was printed in 1898. Lewis John Rhead, the artist, an Englishman, was one of the most popular poster designers of the late 19th century.

One of the themes of Woody Allen's movie is that nostalgia for earlier times is foolish.  Romanticising certain eras is unrealistic because in actuality, these eras were not the way we imagined them.  However, I believe we all need evocative memories, real or imagined.

Ernest Hemingway's book, A Moveable Feast, is the only book where he sounds happy.  And he was, with a new bride, a baby, his writing, and friendship with other struggling authors and artists, both poor and young.  The book is a tribute to Paris.

Are you a realist or a romantic?  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Palermo, Sicily. The Golden Age of Travel Posters.

Mario Pashetto (1885-1963)  Dover Press
Palermo, Sicily is the capital of the autonomous region of Sicily.  Here are some facts you may not know about this ancient city.

1.  Palermo is over 2, 700 years old; it is on the northwest corner of the island of Sicily, by the Tyrrhenian Sea.

2.  Founded by the Phoenicians in 734 BC, Palermo was conquered by the Greeks, then the Romans, then became part of the Byzantine Empire, then came Arab rule, and after them, the Normans.   Palermo and Naples united, forming the Kingdom of Sicily, until Italian unification in 1860.

3. Because of its history, Palermo has beautiful architecture and remains of ruins from many historic periods.

4.  Mount Etna looks down on the city and is still an active volcano, last erupting this March 6-7th!

5.  The Catacombs of the Capuchins  are an unusual tourist attraction.  Between 1533-1920, monks with secret embalming techniques, embalmed many dead residents of the town and arranged them in tableaux to teach moral lessons.  They are displayed in these Catacombs which are open to the public.  Many are dressed in period costume and are well preserved.

6. The beaches are beautiful and snorkeling is popular.

7.  But, the Mafia still has a troubling presence with small groups of merchants refusing to pay protection money.  Hopefully these merchants will remain and help make Palermo more safe and productive without the Mafia's influence.

8.  Visiting Palermo, it seems as if it has something for everyone, a volcano, unusual catacombs, architecture from many historic periods, beautiful beaches, wonderful food, and inexpensive hotels. Visitors love it.  Many beautiful videos.  Check "You Tube" and "Palermo."

You can click on the poster to make it bigger and see the details.  Unfortunately, nothing is known about the Sicilian artist.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for New York and 1939 World's Fair. Tragedy in Boston.

John Atherton  (1900-19520  Dover Press
Hard to write today, so no post for Wednesday.  I welcome your comments about Boston and the aftermath.

Today, as I am writing this for tomorrow's blog post,  is Patriots Day in Boston, Massachusetts and today was the scene of the Boston Marathon and bomb attacks at the finish line. Two people are reported dead and scores more are injured.

New York City was the scene of a horrific terrorist attack on 9/11/2001.  I selected this poster originally to be my "N" choice to somehow tie in the date the poster was printed, 1939, and the planning of the New York World's Fair amid the "winds of war" and the march of Fascism in Europe.

In 1935, a group of New York retired policemen met to plan an international exposition to lift New York's and the country's spirits out of the depression and to encourage much needed business to New York.

Many countries all over the world took part in the World's Fair, even countries that were already under the Fascist boot. Poland, Czechoslovakia and France, ran their pavilions with nationalistic pride.  When the Fair ended, many of the staff could not return to their home countries so they remained in the U.S.

President Franklin Roosevelt gave the opening day address; Albert Einstein gave a speech discussing cosmic rays.  The theme was, "Dawn of a New Day."

And. . .  there was a bomb planted in the British Embassy Pavilion.  Two bomb squad policeman were killed as they carried the bomb away, but they saved many lives.

And on it goes.  Hope for the future and then. . . .

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."   The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Monaco and the Grand Prix. An Aussie wins the Masters!

Geo Ham (1900-1972)  Dover Press
This poster was created by Geo Ham in 1933 to illustrate the 5th annual Formula 1 race in Monaco, April 23.

Mr. Ham was known as the pr-eminent automobile artists of all time and he himself competed in the Le Mans race in 1934 which helped him to convey the excitement and spirit of the races which he illustrated.

This year the race will begin in Monaco on the 23rd of May.  This course is known as the slowest and the hardest of the World Formula 1 Championships because of the narrowness of the streets.  The Grand Prix is one of the three famous Formula 1 courses, which include the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 hour Le Mans in France.

Thinking of going this year?  Are you arriving by yacht, or staying at the Winston Churchill Hotel at 12,000 euros and up?  Of course you can stay with relatives in Monaco and  just find a place somewhere along the route, but you won't be able to meet the various drivers and party with them.  Check out the Monaco Grand Prix on the web sites for hotels and tickets.

The Monaco Grand Prix consists of 78 laps, each 2.075 miles long.
Monte Carlo Formula 1 track map.svg

 Thank you to Wikipedia for the map and general information.

 For another sport, Golf--Congratulations to the first Aussie, Adam Scott, for winning the Master's Golf Tournament today, Sunday, April 14th.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Lebanon and Syria. The Golden Age of Travel Posters.

Geoffroy D' Aboville.  c. 1927.  Dover Press.
This is a travel poster for both Syria and Lebanon from 1927. As I read the copy from the poster: "The countries of tourism and vacations with good air, beautiful sites, and good hotels, and I read of the turmoil in Syria, I can only hope that someday, this poster would be true again.

The history of this region is complex, I am adding a bit from Wikipedia.  But this small paragraph does not even begin to describe its ancient history,  being part of the Ottoman Empire, and the occupation of Lebanon by Syria.

The poster is striking and looks "modern." It is a poster of ancient ruins in Palmyre, Syria.  Nothing is known about the artist, Geoffroy D' Aboville, unfortunately, but this poster is all over the internet, and available for purchase.

"Lebanon-Syria Relations refer to the political, economic, and social relationships between the countries of Lebanon and Syria. Under the Ottoman Empire, Lebanon and Syria were included within the area of Greater Syria. Following World War I, the League of Nations Mandate partitioned Ottoman Greater Syria under French control, eventually leading to the creation of nation-states Lebanon and Syria. Relations between the two countries have been strained, especially with the 29-year Syrian Occupation of Lebanon."

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kenya. Giraffes and magic moments.

Magic Moments -- if you are lucky, very lucky during your travels to "far away places with strange sounding names," you will have a magic moment that you will never forget.

Today, I am sharing my sister Claudine's magic moment near Nairobi, Kenya, when coming up the hill toward their lodging, a herd of Giraffes ran through the compound.  Her recent trip was short, only one week, but in that week she saw many animals, but this was her magic moment which she sent me via one of those small cameras.  Claudine says she will never forget this sight.


                                  Near Lake Naivasha, Kenya

Giraffes are the world's tallest land animal.  They have two gaits;  walking and galloping.  Walking by moving the legs on one side of the body at the same time, then doing the same on the other side.  When galloping, the hind legs move around the front legs before the latter moves forward; the tail curls up and the forward and backward movement of its head and neck maintains the giraffes balance while galloping.  You can see this when you watch the movie.

Do you have a magic travel moment?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Joan of Arc. Poster of a Vintage Book Cover

Harper's April, 1895.  Dover Press
This is the cover of Harper's Magazine, April 1895, featuring a story by, "the most popular magazine writer."  And who would that be?  Mark Twain of course.  But in the 1895 version, Twain asked that this work be published anonymously because he did not want his readers to expect his book to be humorous.

Joan of Arc or The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte was first serialized in the magazine  The book itself was published in 1896.  Twain consider this novel one on which he worked the hardest, as  he spent months using historical sources in both English and French to set the scenes for Joan's life and death.  Sieur Louis de Conte was a fictionalized  page of Joan's who was with her from the beginning to her death.

His critics, were, well critical, despite the effort Twain put into the book -- twelve years of preparation, he said.

"I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others need no preparation and got none."  Mark Twain

I read this book for a class I took and found it interesting. This is not a quick read, but fans of Twain will find it a contrast to his other books. Twain was enamored of the character, modeling her after his daughter Susi as he remembered her at seventeen years of age.  

Was Mark Twain interested in cross-dressing or changes in identity by a switch of clothes, (Prince and the Pauper)?  There is more to this and I have added a reference that explores Twain's intense interest in the ideal of Victorian womanhood.  The reference is worth reading.

Edward Penfield (1866-1925) was one of America's most famous poster artists and created many covers for Harper's.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Ireland. The Golden Age of Travel Posters

Isn't this a magnificent ferry?  The St. Patrick launched in 1906 was one of the routes to Ireland.  Fishguard Harbour was then developed as a port of call for Atlantic liners.  In 1909 the first Cunard liner, the RMS Mauretania,  stopped at Fishguard Harbour; it must have been an exciting day for the residents to see the Cunard docking there.  I am envisioning a band greeting the Cunard as well. 

The Great Western Railway would take you up the coast of the U.K. from Fishguard Harbor to Hollyhead, cross there via St. Patrick to Dublin.  

The descriptions are wonderful -- "magnificently appointed, sea passage under three hours, and about 22 1/2 knots an hour."

Does anyone have any information about this particular Railway and the passage to and from Ireland?
Fredrick Simpson , March 1906.   Dover Press

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, a digression

For the letter "H," I am using the a line from Conrad's book as a prompt, and continuing on my own.

"Going up the river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings."

Poster  of  Book Cover by Blanche McManus  1895   Dover Press

The air was oppressive and thick like the jungle on either side.  Greenish, blackish water covered with algae made a troubling path through which the small boat traveled.  The water itself seemed alive, rippled here and there with unknown creatures large and small that lurked underneath.

Was there human life beyond the water's edge?  The trees at the edge of the river, as gnarled and twisted as their roots, clung to the wet banks of the river and were so close together and so intertwined, that no light could be seen between them.  There were sounds coming from those trees, strange bird calls, echoing whoops, shrill notes, repeated sounds with unknown messages.

No one spoke, each lost in their own thoughts, some perhaps questioning their motives for being in this place.  The sun, a fiery orange ball, was setting slowly; strips of purple clouds in the sky gave the scene an unworldly appearance.

The boat slowly turned toward shore.  "We're here," a voice said.

(Just a little break for me from writing about posters).

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for the Grand Canyon. The Santa Fe Railroad and The Golden Age of Travel Posters.

Sam H. Harris (1889-1977)   Back East Excursions, c .1924
"Do yuh hear that whistle down the line?
I figure that it's engine number forty nine,
She's the only one that'll sound that way.
On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.
See the ol' smoke risin' 'round the bend,
I reckon that she knows she's gonna meet a friend,
Folks around these parts get the time o' day
From the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe."

This is the chorus from the song, "The Atchison, Topeka, and the Sante Fe," writtten by Johnny Mercer.  It was also in the movie, "The Harvey Girls" sung by Judy Garland.  I've added a You Tube reference for you to check out.  Judy, in this version is fabulous, performing more of a swing rendition than the film did.  

The Grand Canyon was one of the destinations advertised by the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe Railroad, and is part of railroad history and development of the Grand Canyon into a major US tourist destination.

The railroad was chartered in 1859, but the track to the Grand Canyon was not completed until 1901 -- the $3.95 fare was a bargain from Flagstaff, compared to the $15.00 stage coach ride.

Considered a progressive move at the time, Mary Jane Colter, an woman architect, was hired to design many of the now iconic buildings, Hopi House, Lookout Studio, Desert View, Watch Tower, and Hermit's Rest. Bright Angel Lodge, has a fireplace she designed with the rocks that she selected, place to show the same order of the geological strata of the Grand Canyon, from top to bottom.

Railroad service stopped in 1968 when people chose to take "road trips" instead.  Remember, "Route 66"?  But rail service was reopened in 1989, with the restoration of railroad tracks and the old train depots.  The train reduces automobile traffic to the South Rim.  One engine actually runs on waste vegetable oil.

The Grand Canyon is a national treasure with amazing vistas and many things to see no matter what your passion or interest may be, hiking, architecture, railroad history, geology, rafting, and for those not afraid of heights, mule rides down to the bottom of the canyon floor.

Remember, you can click on the poster for a closer view.


and Dover Press attribution

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fiuggi, Italy. The Golden Age of Travel Posters

Tito Corbella (1885-1966)  Dover Press
Fiuggi, Italy, is a classic medieval hill town, not far from Rome.  If you would like to "take to the waters," as many have done going back to the ancient Romans and before, this is the place.  The mineral baths are said to be relaxing, bestowing many health benefits, besides being in a wonderful area with friendly people, terrific food, and interesting architecture.

Fiuggi is known for its drinkable mineral water which as far back as the reign of Pope Boniface VIII (8th C.) has been the water of choice to dissolve and remove kidney stones. Pope Boniface ordered this water 190 times during his reign.  (Oh those Vatican record keepers).  And even Michelangelo was reported to have said after visiting the spa (16th C.), that kidney stones were, "The only stones I did not love."

The artist, Tito Corbella, was known as an exceptional portrait painter and Art Deco commercial artist, also created Italian military propaganda posters during World War I.  Posters are commissioned for many reasons.  If you click on the poster, you can get a closer look.  This works for all of them.

I've added a  link to more information and photographs of Fiuggi.  And should you wish to try Fiuggi mineral water, both sparkling and still (no gaza),   it is for sale on Amazon for $6 a bottle.


Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Exactitude. The Golden Age of Travel Posters

Exactitude, 1929  Pierre Fix-Masseau.  Dover Press
This poster, "Exactitude," by Pierre Fix-Masseau in the Art Deco style,  depicts the French State (ETAT) Railroad and was so popular in its day with collectors, that the artist could not keep one for himself.  

It originally was a lithograph, where each color is hand-drawn on a separate plate and then pulled through a special printing press.  The result is pure color, not tiny dots.

Prints of "Exactitide" are in museums in Paris and the the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  The printing process has to be difficult.  If you look at the smoke, that printing step, especially.  

I looked at this poster for a long time to try and see its appeal, but I am not a railroad buff.  To me it shows power of the the mighty machine compared to the very tiny image of the engineer.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Davos, Switzerland and The Magic Mountain

Dover Press Attribution

Winter in Davos is the name of this poster by the artist, Burkhard Mangold (1873-1950).  According to his biography, he was influenced by the Jugendstil movement.  And what was the Jugendstil movement you might ask? (I did).  Jugendstil was another name for Art Nouveau, an art movement which began in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Art Nouveau included all forms of architecture, high and low art, printing, sculpture, crafts, with all of these forms rejecting the traditional art forms of the 19th century. 

Davos is one of Europe's oldest mountain resorts with emphasis on all outdoor winter sports, skiing with 45 ski lifts, sled runs, skating rinks both indoor and outdoor, and in the summer hiking and mountain biking.

Swissinfo.co  attribution
Because of its high altitude and sunny weather, Davos was originally a health resort for wealthy patients with tuberculosis.  Robert Louis Stevenson completed Treasure Island in 1882 while recuperating there, and for you Lit majors -- what famous writer used Davos as the location for his Nobel Prize winning book?    Did you guess?  Thomas Mann used Davos as his setting for The Magic Mountain.  His wife was there in 1911, with a "lung ailment"-- a euphemism for TB.  Mann who stayed nearby taking care of his children, spent three weeks there himself, which gave him first-hand material for his novel.  Writing is the perfect occupation for those whose hospital stays for tuberculosis usually meant months of recuperation.  The daily regimen included, long hours outdoors, lounging bundled up while inhaling the mountain air which was thought to be part of the cure, eating very good food, and this is one of the most unusual treatments,  spending the night in barns with cattle, inhaling their flatulence.

But Davos is not all serious and literary.  It is quite a hip location with clubs, good restaurants and beautiful people.  It was the site for the  2013 World Economic Forum.  There is more to Davos' history than I can cover here, but check out Davos' numerous web-sites.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Chamonix-Mount Blanc. The Golden Age of Travel Posters

Chamonix - Mount-Blanc, France, the home of the first Winter Olympics, January 25th through February 5, 1924.  Chamonix is also called the "Death Sport Capital of the World."  (When I research information about these countries and artists, there is always something unusual to uncover).  

Why "The Death Sport Capital"?  If you visit Chamonix, you can participate in:
mountain climbing, extreme skiing, paragliding, rafting, ice climbing, all of which have risks, but the name is still chilling.

Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France and you can see by the ruggedness of the mountains,  that any of these sports in that area would be a challenge, and not for wimps like me.  (I think I would sit in a cafe, have a glass of wine and people watch).  The area was also the setting of a James Bond film, The World is Not Enough.  To have some idea of why it might be called "The Death Sport Capital of the World," I included a You Tube video link from the movie.


Christie's, the famous auction house, listed this poster in one of their auctions,  estimated price, 2 to 3 thousand pounds.  Vintage posters are a good investment, especially if you found one or two in a dusty antique store or in a relative's attic.

The artist, Auguste Matisse, (1866-1963) is not well-known.

Auguste Matisse.  Winter Olympics, 1924.  Dover Press

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Bologna, Italy. The Golden Age of Travel Posters

Bologna, Italy.  My first reaction when seeing this poster, was, "What are those two red towers?  And the answer is . . . they are two medieval towers built in Italy in the 12th Century during the tower building era, where over 200 of these towers were built in Bologna, alone.  And these two towers have names.  The tallest is Asinelli, 318 feet tall, and 500 steps.  Garisenda is 157 feet tall.  Asinelli is open to the public but not Garisenda which is too unstable to climb.  

The names are intriguing.  This is where the ideas for the Princess in the Tower stories originated -- all those towers in various countries, poor Rapunzel.

Bologna, a city in Northern Italy, is also the home of the first University, founded in 1088.  And from what I read, is the true "Foodie Capital" of Italy with not only four-star restaurants but less expensive cafes serving delicious regional food.

Bologna is also famous for its Bolognese Ragu, a hearty meat sauce which is served with Tagliatelle not spaghetti as it is here in the States.

 Severino Trematore, the artist of this poster, published in 1928, has an interesting and sad history.  His work in the 20's was mainly travel posters and brochures for Italian cities and ocean-liner advertisements.  But, while in London in 1940, he was arrested with other foreign nationals and deported.  His ship was sunk by a German torpedo.

I have added a You Tube link, travel photos of  Bologna.


Servino Trematore (1895-1940)    Dover Press Attribution

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Australia; the Golden Age of Travel Posters

Before we begin this challenge, we all thank Arlee Bird, or Lee for being the guru and founder of this special challenge.  And since his name begins with "A," today is an appropriate day to do this.

During the early years of the 20th Century, with the advent of rail travel and steam ships that crossed the Atlantic and Pacific,  an unprecedented era of travel was born and was clearly seen in the travel posters of that time.  Art, architecture, scenic historic places were featured on these posters to lure and entice you to visit "those faraway place with strange sounding names."

Australia has both an ancient and recent past history that is as diverse as the country and would require many, many paragraphs to even touch the highlights.  One fact stood out in my research:  In 1914 the male population of Australia was less than 3 million, yet 400,000 men volunteered to fight in World War I.  They also fought in the ill-fated battle of Gallipoli.  Australia lost 60,000 men in World War I, with many,many wounded.  

Waltzing Matilda is known as the unofficial national anthem of Australia and is a song about a tramp who camps by a creek and steals a sheep.  To avoid capture, he drowns himself.  In my distant past, I remember singing this song in Girl Scout Camp, but never beyond the first verse, so researching this song was a revelation.

I think this poster captures the spirit of an early Australia.  You feel as if you are under a tree in shadow, watching a sheepherder with only one dog manage a huge sheep herd.  It feels hot, but perfect for an adventurous spirit.

More information about Australia can be found on many web-sites.  Here is one:  www.pandora.nla.gov.au 

Dover Publications "60 Great Travel Posters"  "Australia in the Sun" by Percy Trompf,  c. 1935