ANATOMY 0F A LOVE AFFAIR WITH VINTAGE POSTERS

Here’s how the vintage poster love affair began–an email arrived in our mailbox June 10,  2019 from a first time visitor:

“I’m intrigued by this Massey Ferguson poster that you have.  I have not really been able to find much information on the artist, J.C. Rousseau other than it looks like he may have designed some cigarette ads in the 60s and 70s as well.  Can you tell me anything more about him?”     We, at I Desire Vintage Posters(Toronto, Canada) find many moments in the course of our pursuits, which give us great pleasure. Until now, however, we have never–amidst our copious 33+years correspondence–attempted to convey to others these rewards in a formal presentation. But we have recently come to know a vintage poster collector and client, Brian,of Chicago, whose enthusiasm for the metier and the culture is so cogent that we have seen fit to share to the world his gusto. [blog content reviewed and accepted by Brian being”the other half” of the Love Affair]

By wonderful coincidence, Brian’s choice from our collection comprises a very rare lithograph which pertains to our home city, Toronto, specifically, the truly grand Massey-Ferguson poster(c. 1960), by graphic artist, J.C. Rousseau. Our special client opened discussions about the work, with such attention to detail and taste, that we were immediately very pleased. And here we’ll begin to show how this vintage poster  on sale, became an item of interest on our website as displayed by Google at idesirevintageposters.com

Massey-Ferguson c.1960
J.C.Rousseau
44”x 62”
B+/A-,Linenbacked

There are many roadways depicted (in vintage posters, and movies) seen by way of prominent highway mediums setting off picturesque and thrilling adventures. There are, on the other hand, very few presentations of farm vehicles drawing upon that geometric aspect.
In our Poster of the Month, considerable wit and innovation have been expended to convey that the Massey-Ferguson tractor is, in addition to a big-scale workload, a thing of beauty. The stylization of the farmer’s field with its rows of furrows, lifts us back to a humorous, far from action-hero driver headed for the stratosphere on a sort of Lost Highway-cum-Flash Gordon blast-off! Not only the patterning but also the coloration contributes to the heft of a seemingly tossed-off confection.
The engine room of this rover brings to bear another pleasant surprise. The multi-triangle form of the driving force comes up with a facsimile of the product’s steel as stamped with a down-to-earth logo/ symbol of the corporation.
(This being a Canada Day posting [when published as our Poster of the Month], let’s recall that the company in question was for years an iconic feature of Canadian society and the Canadian economy.)
As a coda, we salute the chromatic panache of chording sunset reds to salute the long hours the client puts in. (That he’s smiling and vivacious after a long day represents a tribute to the “ultramodern” convenience.)

—–Thus Brian takes off with his emails June 10-14 ( prior to purchase/shipping), by freely sharing his poster passion history, along with our responses[bold]—–

“A little about me, for 5 or so years I’ve been collecting vintage travel posters, the majority of which are TWA posters by David Klein.  However, my poster collection has recently expanded in all directions.  Massey Ferguson were my grandpa’s favorite tractors, one of which we still have, and I’m sure it’s older than this poster! (but who knows if it runs?).  I know my mom and her brothers would love to see this hanging in the farmhouse as he smiles down at us.”

“Thank you Brian for your thoughtful sharing of why this poster means so much to you. Indeed my wife has a bit of farming blood in the grandparent era–they lived on a farm near Winnipeg, Manitoba(weather is just like Chicago).We love the design  very much as you can see from my short essay!!”  [see above poster description penned by Jim]

“I can’t wait to have this framed up in some old-timey wood and hung on the wall! I guess my mom was able to salvage some of the wood flooring out of the old farmhouse before they re-did it, so my hope is that I can use some of this to put the frame together, maybe with a semi-transparent white finish to it.  I’ve never made a frame from scratch on my own before, though I do have a good amount of experience with a table saw and a routing table.  Hopefully this is enough to get me there!  Worst case, it’s just more business for the local frame shop 🙂 ”

“Thank you Brian. Your framing plan sounds like a great approach. Would it be a good idea  to ask your framer for any tips? Or perhaps online tips with frame making. You will also want to use plexiglass as glass will be far too heavy. And you would know this–that the poster must not be dry mounted to any backing eg. foam core. The poster must always be rollable or it’s value will be ruined.”

“Right, no glue.  Got it! Do you know if it is OK to allow the linen to wrap around the edges of the backing board, and then tape the linen  to the back of the backing board?  Knowing nothing else, this seems like the best way to do this.  I will also ask my local guys how he does this.”[the latter was Brian’s action]

“Jim and I have been enjoying your enthusiasm with this historical and significant Massey-Ferguson poster. And this story you  will appreciate especially if you sometime tune in to JEOPARDY. Hope you are sitting down! On Wednesday’s show (the day you bought the poster) the category was FERGUSON…the (??$800) question  was–in my phrasing–“Who made tractors” The contestant was right on that one! [Massey Ferguson!] And what a coincidence for both you and us.I have the invoice attached…And thank you.          Looking forward to hearing from you again. If we are not responding it will be due to a short holiday end of June.Happy Summer 😊 but first…Let’s Go Raptors!!    [Toronto’s now famous Basketball team]  From,We the North,Valerie and Jim”

“Ha! That is quite the coincidence. I’ll cheer for anyone who’s not Golden State, so yes, go Raptors!        Also just kinda for your knowledge/reference, when I get a new poster/artist, I generally research it until I literally can’t find any new information on it anymore.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find out much else about the life of the artist (aside from his cigarette ads), however, I did find this design on a small (What I think is French Canadian) tractor brochure in a couple listings.  Here is one: [website given] Due to the folding pattern of this poster, I suspect it may have been included as an advertising brochure-insert, but probably not this exact brochure, as it’s far too small.[This was an  Advertising brochure.]I have not been able to find any other instances of this poster in existence.”

—-Emails resume July 10-August 14/2019—-

“Hey guys,  Well, my mom loved the poster!  She’s used to me showing her fancy airline posters and exquisite displays of Paris or some such nonsense, so I think she really enjoyed the fun-loving cartoon guy driving his tractor.  I ended up making the frame myself, and we decided that since it’s being hung in a farm-house, plain old select pine would be just fine for the job!  Getting the notch routed out was definitely the toughest part, but everything else seemed to come together nicely.  I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t shatter the plexi running it through the saw, but I think our clamping technique saved us!  (acid free foam board on the back, folded staples in the frame to hold everything in) Anyways, here’s my happy mother and how it’ll look all framed up.”

”Hi Brian, This is phenomenal!! Congratulations!! The pine is perfect! A labor of love that we think is one of the best stories we have experienced in our 33 years of poster passion. Your poster looks amazing!! And your  mother looks super thrilled! Would love to see it hanging on the wall! It will take a huge space–tricky in any home!         We have just returned from the prairies–Manitoba countryside (where Jim and I met several decades ago on Lake Winnipeg). And the wide open skies and fluffy clouds and miles of farming country and the hard working farmers, speak to us loud and clear.                And the air is so fresh.”

Nothing like a vacation to get the juices going again–thinking about our next blog topic?? Why not—A love affair with vintage posters!!!

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“Brian,  We have a professional association(IVPDA) and an excellent PR contact who would likely love to post your commentary and the photos–either on the website or even better, we can dedicate a blog to your poster on our website where Jim and I post about twice a month(not recently though due to work overload and trip) and then share that with you. We would not post personal information, but might like to mention the general area of the farm–“near Chicago” or ?? not. We might include some Massey Ferguson history in the blog. Or if you would like to sketch out  a blog to share we would consider that as another option.  Here is a previous blog on our website relating to our love of farming , animals.” http://www.idesirevintageposters.com/blogs/rural-returns-as-fielded-by-vintage-graphic-design/

“Let me check w/ my mother to make sure she’s ok to use her image, but I’m pretty sure she won’t care.  Otherwise I’m totally fine with whatever you guys want to do and using my commentary is ok.  I’m located in downtown Chicago, but the farm is in Northern Ohio.  I unfortunately only make it back there a handful of times a years, so I’ll have my mom and brother send me some better pictures of the poster framed up and hopefully on the wall (if they have found a spot for it yet).  I’ll also see if she can send find a picture of my grandpa on our Massey.      Glad your trip was good, and oh ya, congrats Raptors!”

“Sounds great Brian! Let’s just see how it plays out and if there are any details you would like us not to include just drop us a note. We will eventually get something composed and pass it by you before we publish. Sound OK?           Yes the Raptors really brought Canada together–and we personally had some great times in the midst of the action!! Even our US friends (and relatives spread throughout!)–and international friends, were cheering Canada along. Maybe once in our lifetime! Have a great w/e! Valerie and Jim”

“Hey guys, I’m waiting on the family to send some better photos of everything in place.  I’ll send some along hopefully in the next week or so.  Feel free to use any or none of them, whatever you would like.”

“Thanks Brian, Sounds perfect! And we have been so busy with our poster appt and shipments so no rush. But thank you very much  for the update. We look forward to seeing the poster hanging at the farm and whatever other photos are attached. Jim has done a good amount of prep–might even be a part 1 and part 2.       Are you coping with the high humidity the past week?  We have NEVER had such a high temp for about 3 days in a row–suffocating outdoors. Def. climate change BIG time. Today we are back to normal and for the rest of the week…so we are told.    Cheers, Valerie and Jim”

“Hey guys! This is the best I was able to get from the family.  Attached are a picture of my grandpa on his beloved tractor and one with my sister[see above].  This was actually a part of her engagement photo shoot haha, people in the Midwest sure love their dang tractors!!  My mom has yet to hang the poster, but I at least got her to give me a photo of her standing up w/ it[see above]. The farm is one of the last holdouts of land in our suburb that hasn’t been developed.  While there is no livestock on it anymore, the fields still get used by some family friends to grow hay.  My grandpa was born on and died on that land, and it has been in our family for well over 100 years.  When my mom was little, they used to have chickens and pigs as well as produce.  I’m told my uncle will still not eat a tomato to this day after spending his childhood planting row after row of them by hand. Hope you guys are enjoying the last of summer.”

“Fantastic, lovely family photos  Brian! What a neat OLD Massey Ferguson tractor!! About when were the tractor photos taken [2014]? Thank you and your family!    OK Jim and I need to finish this “diary”–ANATOMY OF A LOVE AFFAIR WITH VINTAGE POSTERS– and send it off to you. We will see–if it will be a lengthy blog we may divide it into 2 parts. Depends if we want to add some Toronto history re Massey Ferguson.      We will share with you before publication so you can tell us if it is all OK or not.     Jim is working on another writing assignment now so “our” blog/s should all be ready to share with you for your feedback in a week.     Yes, as time permits, we are making the best of the days that allow us to enjoy the outdoor, like day trips on our bikes. And enjoying the produce from our local Farmers’ Market that come to our downtown parks/city hall etc. from May to October.      Hope all is well on your end with some vacation time or however you enjoy summer.           Cheers,  Valerie and Jim”

ps.If you  have a love affair with a vintage poster, we’d love to hear from you @ vintageclark@gmail.com!

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