no beauty's ever free I
maybe some people get it at a younger age, but i'm turning sixty-five next month, and this somehow seems the appropriate age to realize some things. i suppose one might call it 'the duality of things,' or not. but the realization, of course, brings delight and melancholy in equal parts.
we have looked at the development of plakatstil, with its german outgrowth of hand-written posters, and that style as an outgrowth of both japanese calligraphy, and a long tradition of hand-lettering in german posters. here we begin to see how that style jumped the ocean and was perfectly suited for the new industry of railway posters. (and we've also looked at the changing needs of travel.)
some wonderful artists emerged at this moment in time. see extensive, full-color coverage in zega & gruber's "travel by train." sam hyde harris's posters are so amazing (see next post as well) that i have a very difficult time keeping it in my head that they were created over 80 years ago! they are so fresh, and beautiful to me; harris just jumped into the middle of my favorites list right next to maurice logan.
numerous other emerging artists included are maynard dixon, winold reiss, and w h bull, whom we have looked at before, and louis treviso, for example, whom we have not, and numerous others are featured in luxurious color; wish i could find online images on all of them. but in studying their work it becomes obvious from whence come their roots.
the romance of the railroads is born in these posters, created to ensure wanderlust, a greener grass on the other side of the railroad tracks. for unparalleled beautiful vistas, for the opportunities of self-reinvention, try a train.
so where's the dark side?, you are wondering. you mentioned melancholy? indeed i did. i've mentioned it before. the baton of art and design is handed on, the baton raised comes down again, always, generation after generation. martin lermann-steglitz, like so many of his contemporaries, was lost to the camps, lost permanently, finally declared dead in 1962.
there's nothing one can learn that finds one only delighted, there is no inside without an outside, no yin sans yang. i felt for many years that happiness required the vanquishing of the dark side and now i know that place has never existed. krishna, vishnu and shiva braided inevitably together, inseparable. there's no way to love the world fully without an open heart, which bars nothing.