We’ve never before been able to concentrate in this way such a wealth of graphic designs exploring one field. We’ve found, to our delight, that such a quantity, bolstered in frames, exerts much more attraction than a single item! Skimming across the installation, we’re drawn to the motif of the great outdoors and the various inventions for pleasurable exploration.
Lakes of the Arrowhead Country;Canadian National Railways c.1925;9”x 8”
We’ll begin with two of the most venerable angles for contact with unspoiled nature, namely, fishing and canoeing. There were and still are few places on earth with such ready access to astronomically vast wilderness. Both vignettes here revel in sheer uninhabited but richly fertile surround. The actions of their rare visitors lend contrasting pops to the timeless tranquility.
Along the Gulf Coast Riviera By Union Steamships ;c. 1920;9” x 8”
Here the grandeur of the wilderness–accented by a rather otherworldly cloud bank–seems to be a case of a little bit goes a long way. No one is looking at the powerful panorama. But in an almost imperceptible way those shown swimming, relaxing and flirting would find their amusements touched and enhanced by the strangeness and beauty of the surround.
Resorts in the Rockies Canadian Pacific; c. 1920; 11” x 8”
The lovely Canadian Pacific Hotel at Banff nestles safely into the Rocky Mountain behemoth, forming the makings of a pennant or a coat of arms. You could say that this is almost an institutional takeover of a once pristine mystery. But the figures in the foreground seem to be struck by the still-untamed features of their destination. Part of the allure here, for women (and some men) not really fond of rural life, would be the prospect (à la Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in Rose Marie) of marrying a Mountie.
Our triptych amounts to a consideration of La Belle Province back when village piety and modest feelings were its touristic trump cards.
Quebec for Winter Sports Canadian Pacific ;c. 1925; 8 ½” x 5 ½”
This is a fascinating glimpse of ski slopes when they were more a site for folk craft than super-cool consciousness transformation!
Niagara to the Sea Canada Steamship Lines; 1933; 9” x 8”
The graphic energies here evoke a lost world for which a measure of daring is required. Touching primeval beauties from the cozy safety of a redoubtable exploration craft.
Through the Canadian Rockies Canadian Pacific;c.1920; Maurice Logan;11”x 8”
Always focused for blowing us away, the great designer, Maurice Logan, here pulls out all the stops of wilderness chic! Though the text refers to “Canada’s Evergreen Playground,” green is the one color missing in action, action being a gold and blue color scheme that cues the treasures into a timeless trance.