August 19, 2008
Visit the continent
What an image!
This is a postcard that I picked up last month at the National Railway Museum, in York (UK). It's a copy of a railway poster, designed by R.E. Higgins in 1933 for the London and North Eastern Railway.
I love the strong black shape of her dress (that lovely dress!). - And the way the dark dress and her black cap of hair pull the figure towards you, visually. That haircut's almost brutal, but it, and her confident, graceful posture, make her striking and stunning. The artist set the kiosk in the background in a way that echoes the shape of her head - two dark domes - and the softer navy blue of the kiosk pushes it into the background, which creates depth against the silhouette of the cityscape.
Everything's flat: there are no contour lines, no shading on any of the figures or forms, the horizon is flat - but there's a sense of depth that pulls you in. It's almost dizzying, and that's the effect that makes it work.
It's so stylish, isn't it? Everything about the construction of this poster says: "I am an image, I was designed to be this way. I am stylish, and a little influenced by Japan, and very, very, up to date" Just like the prospect of going to Paris for a little shopping. In 1933.
Higgins, I raise my hat to you!
(the one I've got in this enormous feather-light hat box slung casually over my arm...).