Fortune February 1937  Antonio Petruccelli (cover artist)

Whereas in Europe, particularly France, the rapid advances in printing technology in the era closing out the 19th century and opening out the 20th century were promptly and gloriously pressed into the service of generating, over a fairly wide swatch of the population, excitement about the arts, in America the most remarkable instance of graphics taking flight on the pages of a magazine occurred on the pages of a business publication, called Fortune.
1937 was in the era of the great cruise ship, the Normandie. This Italian Line promotion sidles up to a Normandie brochure design, to show that it can go one better. The paper stock was the best to be seen anywhere; and thus its color work could really rock!

1937 was the year of the Paris International Exposition, dedicated to showcasing modern arts and technologies and what they would offer to contemporary striving amidst a current of civil war (in Spain), imminent world war and worldwide economic depression.
Here the emphasis is upon wealthy Americans enjoying a great show. The copy strikes a reflective note: “Only Paris knows the secret of wedding the fabulous future to the fascinating [already just ‘fascinating,’ not compelling] past.”

A feature article has to do with the awesome aspects of New York’s waterfront, here the East River, as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge, as rendered in such a way as to emphasize the power of the fast-flowing waters as well as the genius and energy of the commercial scene.

The Erie Basin, a rich industrial resource and an evocation of the uncanny stresses of modern life.

“Grain Elevators in Jersey—survivors of a more prosperous past.” The design embrace of this publication—so surprisingly, for a bullish commercial vehicle—recognizes the excitement and beauty to be seen in wreckage.

The ads—often using special inks as seen here to emphasize the wonder of aluminum—are often as engrossing as the editorial content.

The pen-and-ink format of this Hawaii tourist ad (four years before Pearl Harbor) shows Honolulu as seen from a smashing Clipper—and the glamor and mystery of those features are actually enhanced by the austere color design.

Punchy colors and composition for a now scary line of reasoning: “I’m going to save my throat…I’m switching from hots to Kools!” The generally engaging gusto of these pages is not without ominous pitfalls.
                                                   Machine Age verve and charm!

                               The story of Arrow Shirts, along with a fantastic poster!
Still in this one issue, some daring photography which lifts industrial labor (here the production of a streamline train) into its poetic dimension.

More on Fortune Magazines from I Desire Vintage Posters

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