Art Deco travel posters by A.M. Cassandre

A.M. Cassandre’s early work, characterised by an Art Deco style of symmetry and geometric forms, afforded him instant acclaim. We delve deeper into the journey he took to become one of the most sought-after commercial illustrators of his generation, creating works such as Normandie, Nord Express, and many more influential graphic design posters.

L’Atlantique, Prunier, and La Route Bleue by A.M. Cassandre

Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, to French parents, A.M. Cassandre (1901–1968) is responsible for creating some of the most recognisable Art Deco designs for luxury French travel companies. We delve deeper into the journey he took to become one of the most sought-after designers of his generation.

A.M. Cassandre spent his formative years between Ukraine and France, before permanently moving to Paris with his parents in 1915. After very briefly attending the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1918, he studied in Lucien Simon’s studio, at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and at the Académie Julian.

As a commercial illustrator whose work was characterised by symmetry and geometric forms, many of his commissions were for the newly-modernised luxury transport industry. Attracting passers-by who dreamt of transatlantic trips to faraway destinations, Cassandre’s poster designs encouraged would-be travellers to sail across oceans on modern cruise ships. 

A.M. Cassandre working en plein air

Normandie, which was commissioned by the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique in 1935, is arguably one of Cassandre’s most famous works. Elegant, streamlined, and pictorially reductive, the poster highlights the ship’s maiden transatlantic route with deftly executed typefaces advertising a voyage from Le Havre, through to Southampton, England, before finally harbouring in New York.

Viewed by many as a floating palace of Art Deco design, the Normandie was the largest, and considered one of the greatest, Ocean Liners of all time. The grandeur of the ship was so extravagant, it was nicknamed the ‘Ship of Light’, echoing the epithet for the French capital, Paris, the ‘City of Light’. 

A master of dynamic composition, Cassandre accentuated Normandie's proportions by composing an extreme upward-facing, geometric perspective – a clever visual technique that forces the viewer’s eye up the ship’s immense geometric bow which looms high above the water.

Commissioned in 1927, Nord Express is a masterclass in composition. Looking up from a low angle Cassandre amplifies the viewer’s perspective, accentuating the power of the locomotive as a towering feat of modern engineering.

Keen to channel the innovation of the newly-available travel network, Cassandre also included a delicate wisp of steam, making it float from the engine – cutting through the poster's dramatic capitalised title – as it races towards a distant horizon. 

Designed to enlist the attention of prospective European travellers, the poster tempts with destinations they might visit including London, Paris, Brussels, and Berlin.

Cassandre believed that typographic elements should work cohesively with his chosen imagery. Integrated type that complemented forms was integral to creating a unified design which ultimately improved each poster’s commercial success.

Whilst passengers travelled aboard these high-powered locomotives, they were met with equally enticing refreshments. Cassandre designed Restaurez-Vous au Wagon-Bar in 1932 and its aim was simple: to advertise a French train’s new Wagon Bar and its gastronomic offerings.

With its simplified geometric forms – representing a siphon seltzer bottle, a water glass with straws, a wine bottle with an accompanying glass, and a tempting, fresh baguette – the poster catered to the appetites of aspirational French diners.

Cassandre chose to drive the advertisement’s message home by overlaying the bar’s offerings on top of the steam locomotive’s wheel.

Working directly with A.M. Cassandre’s estate, we’re delighted to produce an exclusive collection of accredited fine art prints. Discover the collection which also features famous works Dubonnet, Nicolas, and Pathé.

Related stories

spotlight Meet painter and printmaker David Price

The Margate-based artist talks to curator Becca Pelly-Fry about his fascination with brash, colourful ‘non-art’, and the edition he’s made for our Curated Editions collection, New Mythologies.

Suggested filters

spotlight Ele Pack’s new beginnings and emotion-filled abstracts

Upon the release of our latest collection with artist Ele pack, we caught up with her to discuss her recent relocation to Derbyshire, and the new direction of her work.

Suggested filters

spotlight David Hockney’s collectible exhibition posters

Discover the collectible exhibition posters Hockney designed for Tate, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Opera and more.

spotlight Meet London-based design studio Oscar Francis

Join us as we talk to Sarah Evans, the architect turned artist behind London-based design studio Oscar Francis about her work, inspirations and her experience of life as an artist during lockdown.

spotlight Brighton-based mixed-media artist VeeBee’s technicolour works

Learn more about her unusual nocturnal art practice, her beloved cat ‘NooNoo’, and the vibrant portraits she creates of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and more.

spotlight Rosco Brittin’s impossibly intricate floral collages

Based in London, quirky collage artist Rosco Brittin tells us about his animal muses and an intriguing 'spirit genie' that offers him creative fuel...

spotlight Meet Hastings-based abstract landscape painter Louise

Join us as we catch up with Hastings-based abstract landscape painter Louise Body to discuss fisherman’s smocks, juggling work and home life, and her previous career as a wallpaper designer. 

spotlight Must-see autumn exhibitions

Discover our top picks, brought to you by many of our long-standing museum and art gallery partners including V&A, Charleston Trust, and Tate.

spotlight Meet London painter and collage artist Andy Barker

As Howard Hodgkin’s studio assistant for over 22 years, Andy Barker accompanied him on several trips to his beloved India. Find out more about his new print inspired by a tree he spotted from Hodgkin’s balcony.

spotlight Curated Editions: Meet Emma Cousin

London-based painter Emma Cousin uses the figure as a mechanism to explore phenomenological experiences.

Suggested filters

spotlight Paul Klee, Louis Moilliet, and Auguste Macke’s trip to Tunisia

Though they didn’t know it at the time, when three Swiss-German artists travelled around Tunisia for two weeks in 1914, they changed the course of twentieth-century art.

spotlight Meet London-based collage artist Scarlett Bowman

Scraps of fabric found at markets, toxic colours, and traffic cones – these are just some of the things that influence London-based collage artist Scarlett Bowman.

Suggested filters

spotlight Rare Film Posters: Hollywood giants and iconic actors

Join us as we take a closer look at some of the world’s best-loved blockbusters that feature in our Rare Film Poster archive.

spotlight Art Deco travel posters by A.M. Cassandre

A.M. Cassandre’s early work afforded him instant acclaim. We delve deeper into the journey he took to become one of the most sought-after commercial illustrators of his generation, creating works such as Normandie, Nord Express, and many more influential graphic design posters.

spotlight Curated Editions: Meet curator Becca Pelly-Fry

We catch up with London-based curator Becca Pelly-Fry to discuss how the soon-to-be-launched Curated Editions collection ‘New Mythologies’ is taking shape, which artists to look out for, and how to receive information about the limited edition artworks.

Suggested filters

Subscribe to our newsletter
Be the first to hear about our new collections, limited edition launches, and enjoy artist interviews.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.

Contact us: customer care
Email us
01273 511 942
Mon-Thurs, 9 am - 5 pm Fri 9 am - 2 pm

All art prints and images on this website are copyright protected and belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved.