Pick your winter stay-cation with these vintage and antique travel posters

BOSTON – International Poster Gallery presents Winter Break, an exhibition of over 50 original vintage posters, designed to combat the winter blues with advertisements for vacation destinations around the world.

The ultimate vintage poster “stay-cation”, the exhibition offers everything from pristine Caribbean vistas to snow-covered Swiss Alps. This diverse exhibition spans multiple periods and genres and includes works by noted poster design titans. The show is free and open to the public and is on view through March 18, 2011 at International Poster Gallery, 205 Newbury Street.  Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday noon to 6 pm.

Highlighting the exhibition’s tropical offerings is a playful 1959 advertisement for British Overseas Airways (BOAC), one of the forerunners of British Airways. The poster, which advertises the sunny beaches of the Caribbean, was produced in response to the advent and subsequent boom of “coach class” travel during the late 1950’s. For the first time, tourists had become as active as government and business travelers and “everyman” destinations like San Francisco, Hawaii, Florida and the Caribbean exploded in popularity. The image shows a carefree couple strutting down a sun-soaked Caribbean shoreline, targeting the airline’s booming younger audience.

Also included is a festive poster created to promote the second year of the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. The historic event attracted a staggering 27 million visitors over 2 years and was largest exposition the world had seen until that point. Its official aim was to encourage trade between member countries of the Empire, with three main exhibition halls for industry, science and the arts.  Fifty-six countries participated in the event, which culminated in speech given by Prince Albert, Duke of York. The closing speech was notably disastrous, and is depicted in the newly released Oscar-nominated film, “The King’s Speech”.

For winter sports enthusiasts, the exhibition also offers a 1930 poster advertising St. Moritz in the majestic Swiss Alps. By the turn of the century, St. Moritz had become one of the exclusive mountain resorts that would fuel Switzerland’s renown as the “Playground of Europe”. Blessed with 300 days of sunshine, St. Moritz became especially popular with British aristocrats who wished to escape rainy England for a winter in the sunny Alps. In 1930, the resort capitalized on this by creating a smiling sun logo that appeared in many of its posters and promotional materials. This classic, designed by an anonymous artist, is one of the earliest uses of photomontage in travel posters and was produced in an uncommonly large 35 x 50 inch format.

In addition to gallery shows and special exhibitions, IPG’s award-winning website 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.

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