In the nineteen-twenties and thirties the avant garde art movements in Europe came under the enormous influence of exotic imagery from all over the World, with the arts of Africa and Japan appearing in important exhibitions in Paris, and new Archaeological discoveries, like the unearthing of the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter in 1922, made headline news and the great artists of the day became enchanted by the rich colours and distinct angular shapes presented by ancient Egypt.
The decorative arts designers of the time also fell under the spell of these cultures and were quick to incorporate these fascinating and romantic motifs into their creations, including architecture, furniture, jewellery and advertising.
In this Martini poster I have taken the motif of the sphinx of Giza and that of the death mask of the boy king Tutankhamun to create the ‘headdress’ for a rather austere character that looks straight into the viewer’s eyes whilst cooly sipping a Martini cocktail. I have additionally attempted to persuade the viewer to follow the green circle plucked from the ‘O’ in Vermouth, to the large stone (Serpentine?) of her ring, on to the olive in the glass, and finally resting on the cool gaze of her eyes and then all the way back again to the product.
The lettering is hand drawn based on designs by the brilliant Dutch typographic artist of the early 1920s, Antoon Kurvers. Further details of this and other posters in my collection can be found here.