Tag Archives: History

Art Deco Advertising from 1930’s

One weekend I happened two drop my Grandson off so he could participate in working a computer project which focused on the future; I stopped at a flea market and picked and found some Art Deco magazines from the 1930’s which focused on the future at that time.

dsc04861The Advertising is bold, strong lines, and even in the Depression; bright, expensive silver ink is seen most are for cars or items for in home as the Prohibition against Liquor.  Prohibition was bad for the economy though you could drink what you had stashed away, theaters and restaurants lost money, many lost lives drinking “bathtub gin”. Some States didn’t  bother to enforce it.  By 1932 it was it repealed. These magazines are from 1931 so they  all have root beer ads and car advertising.  Cars were expensive then, you have do the numbers and figure what someone made.  A Cadillac was out of most person’s reach.

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The most surprising was the Cadillac , unemployment was at it lowest in 1931. Cadillac went overseas to France and hired the well know illustrated Leon Benigni (1892-1948) , who had already done 1930’s advertising for Cadillac, as well as  Lucien Lelong, Edward Molyneux and Jean Patou to create incredible matching fashions along with these stunning automobiles. The gold and silver inks used in the advertising make these works of art. They were featured in 17 magazines. They had a V8,V12,v16 Cadillac and LaSalle featured. In the case of the Cadillac and LaSalle there were many variation of the same illustration in color, so you may find several varieties of the same car.

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They were not the only ones to use the expensive silver futuristic ink in advertising. Alcoa did as  well. The bright Art Deco designed aluminum showed how products would look in the future and the curved lines had already had begun to be popular. The curved lines of my Father’s generation’s  have become popular once again; look at your phones, computers, the popular home decorating magazines and you see the Art Deco lines. The technological promise and excitement of an older generation is seen in a younger one trying to save the world from climate change, war, disease, making the world use renewable energy, and so much more. dsc04840

Ringling not just about Circus…

Just about everyone has gone to the circus, and when you talk circus the first name that comes to mind is John Nicholas Ringling.  He was the most well known of the seven Ringling brothers. Born to German immigrants, Marie Salome’ Juliar and August Ringling in May 31 1866, he was fifth son in a family of seven sons, a one daughter. His father was a farmer and harness maker.  The Ringling Circus started in 1870 as the “the Ringling Brothers United Monster Shows, Great Double Circus, Royal European Menagerie, Museum, Caravan, and Congress of Trained Animals”.  They understood even in the early days the importance of well done introduction to catch the imagination! They also understood value! They only charged a penny for admission. By 1882 it was called the “The Ringling Brothers Classic and Comic Concert Company”, and traveled by railroad cars, admission rose to 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children.

from the Ringling Museum in Sarasota ..a miniature example the size of a football field to show the set up of the big top circus!

from the Ringling Museum in Sarasota ..a miniature example the size of a football field to show the set up of the big top circus!

The railroad cars began a way to move the circus around the country from on city to another.  They would unload and have everything they needed to live while on the road. They had a large tent for “resting” between performances and for eating food.  It took a large, well organized team to set up the tents, and work behind the scenes.  Huge generators for power and  to provide cooking for all those thousands of people, and animals.CA

inside the big top

inside the big top

Many people had never seen some of the animals. So you often paid a fee to walk through and see the animals before the performance while they were in their cages.  It was an added attraction!

Here is where it all starts..the side show, then the animals..on to the Big Top!

Here is where it all starts..the side show, then the animals..on to the Big Top!

John Ringling married Mable Burton in 1905. In 1907 the Ringling Brothers bought the Barnum & Bailey Circus for $400,000 and ran them as two separate entities for a while, but with the sudden death of two older brothers (Otto in 1911 and Al in 1916) they realized the need to combine them. On March 29, 1919 in Madison Square Garden in New York City, The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey World’s Greatest on Earth became one!  His brother Alfred passed away in 1919, and Charles who managed the shows died in 1926, on top of all this Mable died in 1929 and the Great Depression brought more problems.  He was voted out of control by the board of directors in 1932.  John Ringling died not a wealthy man, but a poor one, with less than $400 in his bank account. He did have this museum, his house, Cad’Zan (or House of John) in Sarasota Florida and his art collection, which he had willed to the State of Florida. The museum and house now restored , includes a theater for the arts and is one of the jewels of the State of Florida.

view of an evening dress and portrait of Mable Burton Ringling  in the formal Reception Room..

view of an evening dress and portrait of Mable Burton Ringling in the formal Reception Room..

You can see the styles of time and many of the items owned by John and Mable Ringling. Though he was married briefly after her death it did not last and ended in divorce. The  House was built in the Venetian Gothic style, designed by New York architect Dwight James Baum, built by Owen Burns, was completed in 1926.  At one time he was one of the richest men in the world and traveled all over Europe.  Unfortunately the word changed rapidly and the winds of fortune changed also, though you can see the stories in the art he collected and the Circus he loved. The Circus still attracts people today, and is still evolving in different forms such as  cirque du soleil and others.

backside of the mansion ..in process of setting up for an event

backside of the mansion ..in process of setting up for an event