Is it Summer Vacation Yet?

 Curio & Co. looks at vintage travel posters. Closeup photo of vintage austrian travel ad. Curio and Co.

What better way to reflect on the past summer than to look at some posters of summer vacations long past?


Though the beginning of autumn is upon us, a terrific exhibition of travel posters on at the Austrian National Library can extend your summer vacation, if only in print. The exhibition, “Welcome to Austria: A Summer Journey in Pictures” is a tour through the history of Austrian tourist advertising, and especially the pioneering use of posters by the Austrian State Railways in 1910 that made the travel poster popular. Take a look, it's just beautiful design.

The exhibition represents major Austrian artists and graphic designers working during the heyday of the travel poster, which continued into the 1970s. But it also highlights the challenges posed for advertising due to shifting borders. With the loss of the seaside holiday destinations on the Adriatic after World War I, the country’s tourism industry had to completely rethink the focus on travel in Austria. Then again after World War II, the revival of tourism – through travel posters – was an important part of rebuilding the country. It’s a fascinating look at the politics of vacation.

Of course, the sun doesn’t have to be shining to enjoy the exhibition. It’s held in the State Hall of the Austrian National Library, which is easily one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Even with a crisp fall nip in the air, it’s always worth a wander around (if only to look for the secret passages). So with October just around the corner, have a great “summer.”