I've been in love with these 1937 American ads by Lester Beall ever since seeing them in a recent National Geographic issue.
M has been a longtime lover of the 50s aesthetics, including pin-up ads and prints by Gil Elvgren. I like these too (there's nothing sexier to me than these demure, totally glamorous, healthy-looking-but-plump-by-our-standards women), but I've always preferred the earlier modern period, from the 20s to the 40s... So our framed art at home is a mix of the two: vintage Coca-Cola ads with smiling pin-ups, a lot of vintage New York prints (our favorite city), World War II stuff like public service announcements calling women to work, old planes, trains, and cruise ships; vintage everything, basically... I think these above would be perfect, if only I could find a place to put them. They somehow remind of a small series of prints from the same era, which we got after our 2005 trip to the Southwestern States:
During the last semester of my bachelor's degree (in Literature), I took one class in History of Graphic Design. Of course, this quickly became my eureka! favorite topic and made me question everything: instead of pursuing my master's as planned, should I start over again in design and/or architecture? I really wanted to, but in the end didn't: I had already been in college for four years and changed majors once, was eager to stop depending on my father and actually work, and I had annoyingly always been like that, suddenly passionate about something, about lots of things, but fickle when it came to exploring it further and showing persistence. (And I think it was the right decision. I still love this but when I look at all the gorgeously designed blogs out there and all the wonderful things that inspire these people, I realize that I'm plainly not that good).
Anyway, this was the height of my obsession with all-things-Russian (earlier there was also an acute all-things-British phase that never completely went away), and since Vassily Kandinsky was one of my favorite painters, this brought me to a similar aesthetic in terms of graphic design and I ended up spending the semester studying Soviet propaganda advertising from the 20s and 30s. And I think that's when I fell in love with ads, goods packaging, PSA and other images like that, which are not considered "high art," but to me still sometimes symbolize and embody an era and a society so much better than painters and sculptors could.
Look at these designs from Alexander Rodchenko (who lived in Moscow in that period and also painted, sculpted, took photographs, and hung out with Revolutionary poets like Vladimir Maiakovsky).
Am I the only one seeing a (troubling but fascinating) resemblance?