Equine Art-Art Deco Style
In 1933 French artist Jean Dupas was commissioned to design a series of posters for the London Transportation Board. This board oversaw both the London Underground and buses. While the “London Underground” might sound a bit clandestine, it refers to the London subway system, a system that by 1908 had become so complicated and difficult to navigate that the Transportation Board created a map to help travelers navigate to their destination. Having created the map, they realized that they now needed to let people know it was available and to encourage them to utilize it. They hired Frank Pick, a lawyer by education but a Marketing director by inclination, to take on that task. His main mandate was to increase ticket sales of the Underground, railway and bus lines and his solution was to give people a reason to buy a ticket when they didn’t really NEED to. Most people used public transportation to get to and from work—a necessity.
Mr. Pick hit upon the idea of creating the image of public transportation as a modern magic carpet capable of delivering fantasies. To do this he didn’t use images of trains and buses—he commissioned the trendiest artists of the day to design posters enticing viewers with gorgeous images of destinations. And that’s where this poster by Dupas comes into play. Frank Pick instinctively knew that he needed to constantly provide new images to keep the public interested. In choosing such talented artists he simultaneously created a great public art “gallery” because these posters were placed not only in bus and rail stations but on the actual buses moving throughout the city and to and from the countryside.
The Green Line featured in this poster was (and still is) a bus station based in Victoria in central London. It’s interesting to note that in this poster for the Green Line—the most democratic of public transportation— Dupas depicts a coach and gorgeous four-in-hand of horses—imagery that looks with rose colored glasses into the past—to convey a sense of high society and style.
It’s interesting that in this poster for the Green Line, Dupas uses the image of a coach and four-in-hand—imagery that looks to the past—to convey a sense of high societyof a c style.