Transport also succumbed to the Art Deco juggernaut, with trains and cars at the forefront of this very influential look.
Combine transport and posters and you really do have a collectable winner. The classic travel promotions are well known, but others feature the machines themselves, as a couple of examples coming up at auction on December 15 demonstrate.
Poster specialist Onslows is holding a Winter Vintage Auction and a highlight is Crewe Works 1937 by Lili Rethi (1894-1969), estimated at £3000-4000. It is subtitled Building Coronation class engines.
Crewe Works was originally built in 1840 but in 1923, when a bewildering array of railways companies became regional grouping, it fell under the umbrella of London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) – just before the Art Deco period started to really kick in.
By 1937 it was in full swing and the Coronation class engine, as shown in this Onslows poster, was steaming out of the factory with dynamic streamlining underlining the Art Deco style of speed and power. To emphasise the look, early versions of boy-racer ‘go faster’ stripes adored the sides. A blue colour scheme for some of the trains instead of the usual LMS red stressed the difference and modernity.
Rethi was a German artist best known for inter-war images of German engineering projects before she fled the Nazis to the US (apparently to avoid a commission from Hermann Goering glorifying the Third Reich). The Onslows sale includes another British design by her, titled Post Office Motor Transport Depot, in 1938 (estimate £500-700).
In the sale-vroom
Meanwhile, in the cars world, another poster on offer estimated at £1000-1500 by an anonymous artists shows the chic and sleek Peugeot 402 from 1935 in an interesting faux wood frame. This was a large family vehicle produced from 1935-42 rather than a sports car but the aerodynamic Art Deco look is still evident.
Headlights set behind a grill reinforce the streamlining which, although not as obvious as the Coronation, projects power and speed.