As the masthead suggests, Quad Royal is meant to be a blog about British graphics and design. But I often find myself making an exception when a David Klein poster comes up in an auction I’m mentioning, mainly because they catch an optimism about the 1950s that the British tend to express more in a cheery whimsicality than in the neon and rush of the city.
It’s not something Britain ever really had in the 1950s, with the possible exception of Piccadilly Circus. We didn’t have Klein’s golden sunshine either.
I am making an exception of him once again today, mainly because I have discovered (and apologies because I can’t remember who pointed me to it first) the Compleat David Klein on the web. The posters alone are wonderful.
These posters would, I imagine, have been seen over here quite a bit. This one alone must have been a direct influence on R M Lander – take a look here if you don’t believe me.
But what’s actually best about it is the collection of original art works – many for posters which aren’t themselves displayed.
My favourites, perhaps unsurprisingly, are those advertising the neon and the rush.
The European destinations are sweet, but just don’t have that same excitement. Klein was much much more about the new than the old, as his portrayal of Britain also shows.
The other set I do like are those advertising travel for American Service families.
This is mainly because they are among the very few posters from this time that look like the graphics now fed back to us as 1950s retro. This kind of visual memory is always very partial, and this is a subject I’ll be coming back to in a week or so.
Anyhow, there’s way more on the website than I could display here – all I’ve even looked at is the TWA posters and there is much more besides – so do pop over and take a look, it’s well worth it.