This bustling locomotive, in addition to being a rare and somewhat oddly satisfying vintage poster, is a cue to looking closely at the varied and intriguing means of putting across motion (that delicious phenomenon) in eye-and-heart-catching visual advertisements. It may come as a surprise, but it is not the subject of the piece that primarily gets things moving, but is instead its surroundings. Here, the stream issuing from the plunge evokes motion in the opposite direction. Also, quite amazingly in my opinion, there is something about that shining crafted machine, as adjacent to the still and stately pines, which suggests a dynamic power in effect. Then there is the angle of the flash, cutting past us at a palpable bite.
Achievements 1953;Donald Healey; 6″ x 8 3/4″A,P;Covers-Motor Sport Booklet of International Races 52 photos;4 full color illus., 34 pp.
This scrambly rendition of a motorcycle race (advertising an event and a product) also looks to the context of the moving vehicles to convey its motion. The front cover design banks on the detailing of the roadway. The back cover ad has the blur of the foliage nearby kicking the vehicles along.
L’Avocat c.1935; Prost; 36″ x 27″;A-,L
The rugby star, a paragon of health due to the product being promoted, gets the boost from that dark horse, metaphorical kin, trailing out shock waves. Both figures have hair streaming out behind the thrust of their thereby-accentuated kinetic home field.
Au Loup! 1921 GBT; Andre Marty; 9 3/4″x 7 1/2″; B+,P
Something different in our probe of a dash-about world engaged by vintage graphic design. Andre Marty introduces the prim and proper young ladies to a new world where fangs become exposed, propelling them (replete with gowns which when compounded by fears show forth trajectories you wouldn’t have imagined them capable of). The ridge and its plunge, the endless landscape and skies and the shadows all contribute to a frisson that sells the sense of fast-forward.
Cover;Geo Ham;15” x 11”;A-,P;complete magazine
You’d think the contrail does it all here, in the way of kinetic energy. But a play of plummeting greys and that shadow of a prehistoric beast on the move also exert forceful momentum.
Geneve c.1950; W. Mahrer; 39″ x 24″; A,L
The insubstantial presence of the plane, in that tightly proffered composition produces a rare and thrilling pitch of kinetic excitement!
INT 1935; Giuseppe Riccobaldi; 9 1/2″ x 6 1/4″; A-, cdbd.
Italian Futurist design was nothing if not about moving in space. This design by the great Giuseppe Riccobaldi, deploys a lightning bolt running through the central figure, stylized to enhance the occupational frenzy of a city courier. Not only sheer speed, but adeptness, savvy and grace are evoked by the color and compositional features.
Le Cerf-Volant 1914 GBT;Georges Lepape; 12″ x 7 1/2″; A,P,matted
In this glorious pochoir the priority of dynamics is all but hidden by a frieze-like moment of quiet joy and vision. But it is the configuration of the kite in a deep space (along with inspired modelling and coloration) that puts us in touch with the essences of motion.
Saint Clair and Day c. 1930;Tito Madrazzo; 31 1/2″ x 22″; A-, L
Here, a very in-your-face instance of cherishing the strange magic of motion. I particularly love how the fields of black and whitish purple kick in. The figures are fruitfully warped by their devotions, dissolving, to some extent, into the blackness of space.
Lisa Duncan 1928; Paul Colin;11 1/2″ x 8 3/4″; A,P, Litho, pl.50
A more complex and quintessentially art deco rendition of that motif of being both in the spotlight and sacrificing everything for the purity of elemental dynamics. In the hands of a master like Paul Colin, graphic design dovetails with avant-garde adventure.
Winter Bewitches c.1950; Rod Ruth; 38 1/4″ x 28″;A,L
To close (for now) back down to earth. The skater etches a path of her progress, in delicate lines with which her body language coheres. She delights in the snowfall, the winter landscape and her own good fortune in being able to see the wealth of mystery of this solitude.