It was common practice to compare ocean liners to the Empire State Building following its completion in 1931. However, in a work by Kenneth D. Shoesmith, the Aquatania is being tugged out of the New York harbor and is situated between two non-descript NYC skyscrapers, making the same kind of comparison in a novel composition.
In this depiction of one of Cunard’s majestic four-funnel ocean liners, the unknown artist portrays the ship literally sailing off into the sunset. The remarkable inking of this work creates a luminescent effect, almost as if the poster is glowing from within.
Employing mid-century modern style, this poster was used to advertise travel by the S.S. United States. At the time of its creation, ocean liners were in competition with airlines. In response, this lifestyle campaign featured hip, attractive young couples in contemporary fashion, taking the slower, elegant, romantic and decadent way of life onboard the ship. The image, along with the campaign slogan, was also used in magazine ads.
This image of the Normandie ocean liner was painted by Albert Sebille and was most likely created to be given as a gift to first class passengers. Images like the one featured in the sale are often referred to as “ship portraits.”