August 19, 2021 by Neely Tucker
Jan Grenci, a reference specialist in the Prints & Photographs Division, wrote a short piece about travel posters in the July/August issue of the Library of Congress Magazine.
It’s been expanded here. Some of the Library’s most popular Free to Use and Reuse photographs and prints are the travel posters from the golden age of the art form, the 1920s to the 1960s, when artists used graphic design, bold lines and deep colors to render destinations more as a mood than just a place.
Take, for example, that image above. The massive scale of the stalagmites and stalactites, the huge cavern opening — they combine to dwarf the man and woman in the foreground. The blueish/purple geologic formations, lit softly from the right, are offset by the shadows in deep black. She appears to be dressed in a skirt, blouse and (one hopes) sensible walking shoes; he, his hat at a jaunty angle, is clad in a coat, jodhpurs and riding boots, complete with a gentleman’s walking stick. They appear not just to be enjoying a day’s hike so much as contemplating the immense passage of time itself.