‘Winter Wanderlust’ exhibit showcasing artistic travel posters for exotic locales

BOSTON — International Poster Gallery’s (IPG) “Winter Wanderlust,” its annual holiday poster show featuring travel posters for exotic locales in addition to a selection of general works by renowned poster artists is on display now. From exotic beach resorts along the French Riviera to romantic railway excursions along the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, the exhibition provides a tour of adventurous destinations unlike any other. “Winter Wanderlust” runs through Jan. 31, 2013, at International Poster Gallery, 205 Newbury Street in Boston.

Highlighting the show is a dizzying 1930 Art Deco poster for Glacier Express by an

Anonymous “Glacier Express,” 1930, 25 inches by 40 inches, lithograph. (Photo courtesy International Poster Gallery).

unknown artist. The poster advertises the first running of the line, which is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist attractions. Dubbed “the world’s slowest express train,” it averaged around 22mph on a spectacular 8-hour journey from Zermatt to St. Moritz. Still running today, the train passes over 291 bridges and through 91 tunnels on a narrow-gauge track that originally was passable only in summer. The low vantage point of this poster captures the drama of this epic journey through the steep mountain passes of the Alps.

Also featured is Sascha Maurer’s 1936 poster for the New Haven Railroad Ski Trains. The trains, which began operating in 1933, were self-contained ski trips on wheels in which the train itself served as the lodge, complete with a dining car for meals. More than any other artist, Sascha Maurer’s posters captured the public’s imagination for the slopes with bright and stylish designs. Trained in modernist design in his native Germany, Maurer’s streamlined images provided one of the few bright spots for the beleaguered American railroads during the Depression.

More temperate destinations are represented in Marcello Dudovich’s circa-1930 poster for Venezia Lido, a 7-mile populated sandbar located in Venice, Italy. The Lido was, and continues to be, home to luxurious hotels, private summer villas and beautiful public and private beaches. Notably, the term “Lido Deck,” used commonly to describe swim and lounge areas on cruise ships, is thought to have originated with English travelers returning from their stay at The Lido. An Art Deco gem, Dudovich’s design pictures an anonymous beauty, between swims in bathing suit and cap, taking in a picturesque view of Venice. Striking works like this secured Dudovich’s position as a progenitor of Italian poster design, and led him to a successful career as a commercial artist and painter.

Dudovich, Venezia Lido, circa 1930. 27.5 x 39 inches, lithograph.

The exhibition also includes more recent entries, such as François Boisrond’s 1996 design for Le Club 55, a Saint-Tropez hotspot. Saint-Tropez remained relatively unknown as a tourist destination until the mid-1950s when the French film “And God Created Woman” was shot in the small fishing town, an ideal filming location along the French Riviera. The film, starring model/actress Brigitte Bardot, ignited a robust tourist economy in the town following its release. Le Club 55 was originally a modest canteen frequented by the film’s crew, but evolved with the rest of Saint-Tropez to become one of the its trendiest beach clubs. Boisrond’s poster aimed to reinvigorate public interest in the historic locale, and is executed with bold reds, yellows and blues in a highly playful style.

While Winter Wanderlust focuses primarily on vintage travel posters, the show also includes a variety of works in other categories. Jean d’Ylen’s 1925 poster for Sandeman port wine is a fine example.

Founded in 1790, Sandeman expanded on an international scale thanks to creative advertising like d’Ylen’s, and is still a prestigious brand today. His dreamlike poster portrays a leaping centaur, a bottle of Sandeman port in each hand, with a woman draped across his back. Her dress and hair, in striking green and red, respectively, cast a flash of contrasting color across the design’s otherwise monochromatic palette, making this one of d’Ylen’s most eye-catching and bewitching creations.

“Winter Wanderlust has given us the chance to showcase some new and extraordinary additions to our collection,” comments International Poster Gallery owner Jim Lapides. For additional exhibit and gallery information, visit InternationalPoster.com.