From the eighteenth century notion of the European Grand Tour to the establishment of democratized tourism in the 1920s, we have been seduced to travel. There has been an unquenchable thirst to undertake a journey. The romance of traveling is not new, but where did this yearning begin? What is the foundation for our lust for leisure? Since the early 20th Century, both the iconic beauty and idealistic stereotypes of place have been marketed and re-mythologized to tempt tourists to unknown—sometimes exotic and sometimes sublime—places.
Drawn from the unique travel poster collection at WAM, this show aims to unpack ideas about how we are drawn to place, travel, time, and myth. The exhibition, guest curated by Megan Johnston, includes more than forty international posters, dating from the 1920 to 1940s, traces the evolution of leisure travel—from domestic to global, exclusive to popular, exotic to commonplace—and its role in American and European visual culture. The exhibition highlights the cultural attitudes, social habits, and upwardly mobility of the middle class to transform the idea of travel into a wholesome, life-enhancing leisure activity.
Several influential illustrators and artists are represented, including Roger Broders, Dorothy Waugh, Steph Cavallero, Gustav Krollman, Carl Franz Moos, Pierre Commarmond, and Paul Henry among others.