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FLYING WOULD have seemed magical to that earliest generation of viewers—including artists. Here’s a sampling of several books that display this. Each is listed at either http://www.amazon.com or http://www.abebooks.com.
This large-format (9 in. x 12 in.) 164-page book offers images from the earliest days to a flying-helmeted Snoopy drawn by Charles M. Schulz.
The book includes paintings, posters and photographs as well as other art. Pascal Ory’s text is très drôle. Commenting on an aerial wedding, “The officiating priest is rather less sure-footed than the groom: a touch of anticlericalism?”
The Swiss/German artist Paul Klee, 1879-1940, worked in a variety of media and styles, Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism. His links to aviation are both purely artistic—and a result of military assignment.
“Und Ich Flog,” German for “And I flew,” is reproduced on the cover of this catalog in Klee’s own handwriting. The cover also shows his 1918 Vogelflüge (horizontal und vertikal), ink and watercolor on paper. Its title is German for “birdflights,” though it also evokes Icarus soaring perilously close to the sun.
Klee was a natural draftsman, stationed during World War I at Oberschleissheim—where he applied camouflage to repaired aircraft. The site is a wonderful aircraft museum now, http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/flugwerft/information.
Posters have been part of aviation art and advertising since the very beginning. Looping the Loop displays this in 102 plates, each in 9 in. x 12 in. four-color format, complete with documentation on artist, date, printer and other details.
The book’s cover shows Meeting d’Aviation Nice, by Charles Léonce Brossé, 1910. The aeroplane is whimsical in its detailing; the control wheel could be a Blériot cloche.
E. Montaut set a high standard for aviation and automotive poster art. The Reims air meet delineated aero pioneers—those who flew before or at the event—from those learning to fly after it.
Less than five months after Reims, America’s first air meet was held in Los Angeles, just south of where LAX is today. Because of on-going lawsuits involving patents, the meet was not without controversy (see http://www.wp.me/p2ETap-zA).
Despite a Wright Flyer figuring prominently in the poster, it was a French pilot, Louis Paulin, who starred at the meet.
This brings our art and aviation to 1910. There’s plenty more of each to come. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2013