Skiing through the Depression

Certain eras have a visual signature that is much more assertive than others, and when it comes to the last century, I’ve always thought that the 1930s was a very strong decade in terms of graphic design, in sharp contrast to the weakness of the economy. Is there an inverse relationship between art and anxiety? I think so. The bold WPA posters with their fat fonts seem like compensation for the bleakness and leanness of the times, and so too do commercial posters from that era. You see just one, and immediately you know when and why it was made: Cheer Up! An upcoming auction of vintage posters at Swann’s Auction Galleries is dominated by skiing posters from the 1930s, several of them designed by American artist Sascha Maurer (1897-1961) who seems to have specialized in this very specific genre. Whether they were sponsored by the railroad, or the ski manufacturer, or the resort, they all show shiny happy people on the slopes, and a bright world not too far from home for some, but still probably quite inaccessible. Go Skiing!

M30359-12 001

M32661-4 001

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Skiing Poster Collage

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Vintage Ski Posters by Sascha Maurer , c. 1935-37, Swann Auction Galleries auctions past and upcoming.


2 responses to “Skiing through the Depression

  • Matt

    Big fan of Depression-era art. So immediately identifiable, and seemingly so modern (for that era) and in all aspects. If someone wrote you a letter in that certain font alone (no pictures), you would immediately think of the 1930s. As an aside, I think the second one looks like Hobby.

    Like

  • daseger

    Hobby is so classic I see here everywhere!

    Like

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