Having just spent some quality time in the Rockies, we are more than ever appreciative of the strong impact imparted by lithos driven by high country! There are so many implications deriving from that thrust upward that we have to be alert in not passing it by as a merely well-known (cliché) form of beauty and power.
For instance, as to the images above, I think you might agree that it is the coordination of many features which provides the full value so often covered by “mountain awesomeness.” Vintage graphic design inhabits and creates in view of that ensemble.
Route Des Alpes c.1928;Dric (Roger Broders?);39 3/4″ x 24 3/4″;A,L
Here it is the drama of the angry eagle and the jaunty tourists and their jaunty buses dovetailing with the mountainous terrain which keys the impact. Those crags with their forms, textures and colors come to life in an ensemble. That means that the excitement of the mountain range is extremely variable. Mountain experience means dipping into one of many variations afforded by the great mass which we could easily slip into supposing as having a single basic impact.
Canadian Pacific Railway Pacific Coast Tours c.1920;Anonymous;9½ ” x 9”A-, L
Here the graphic artist particularly thrills us with his insight into color composition. The mountains, stately though they may be, share space with the infinite skies, here regally presented as golden. The arc of trees produces an intimate foreground, with the Rockies taking their place as a balancing factor, not the whole story. Then there are the riders stopping to admire the big picture. The stately hotel has thereby been introduced as part of a very elegant phenomenon.
Alaska The White Pass & Yukon Route c. 1925;Segesman;9” x 8”;A-, L
Resorts in the Rockies Canadian Pacific c. 1920;Anonymous;11” x 8”;A-, L
Two takes on the Mounties bringing drama to the mountains.
Alaska Canadian Pacific Railway c. 1925 ;Anonymous;9 ½” x 9”;A-, L
When mountains meet the sea under a moody sky the stage is set for high-tension experience by cruise ship passengers. The play of sunlight paints the sea as a golden glow, and it paints the towering structures in a delicate pink.
Canadian National Railways The Triangle Tour c. 1930;Anon.;9 ¼”x 81/4”;A-, L
Graphically making the mountains reveal their embrace of intrepid mountain sheep. Vignettes maintain a buzz of variations not far away!
Travel Canadian Pacific 1947;Peter Ewart;36″ x 24″; A- L
I think it is the precision fit of the tunnel with the train and the human-redolent vehicle itself that allows the mountain range to come into its own as a force of nature responsive to human intervention.
Resorts in the Canadian Rockies Banff Canadian Pacific Railways 1930s;Palenske;9 ½” x 6 ½”;A-, L
Resorts in the Canadian Rockies Lake Louise Canadian Pacific Railways 1930s; Palenske; 9 ½” x 6 ½”;A-, L
River and lake portraits, showcasing how vast a difference in tone can come to bear in the same neighborhood. The silhouettes introduce startling domesticity into savage presences.
Through the Canadian Rockies Canadian Pacific c.1920;Maurice Logan;11”x 8”
An art deco dazzler, transforming the wilderness into an almost urban phenomenon.
Canadian National Railways Across Canada 1924 ;C. Norwich;40” x 25”;A, L
The inert mountain presence admits of showcasing dynamic thrills!