Romania 1860 – United States of America 1942
Poster: Liberator cycles et automobiles [Liberator cycles and cars] 1899 Materials & Technique: prints, posters, colour lithographic poster lithograph, printed in colour, from multiple stones/plates
By the turn of the century, Sunday bicycle rides had become a fashionable thing to do for both the men and women of Paris. Posters featuring bicycles were as big a hit with Parisians as the bicycle itself. Jean de Paléalogue’s poster of 1899, advertising the appropriately named Liberator cycles, with its bare-breasted Amazonian woman standing imperially beside a bike – and not just any bike, this one has underslung handlebars – seems to clearly advocate the ‘health’ benefits of open-air cycling. There is also the implication that one could now cycle at speed. In this context, it is worth noting that the Tour de France began in 1903. Posters such as this must have also been a striking addition to the hoardings of the Paris streetscape.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra