Chicago Fly TWA Travel Poster by Austin Briggs Circa 1964

This is a colorful TWA travel poster for flights to Chicago, by 20th century illustrator Austin Briggs.  The poster depicts a plane’s silhouette flying over the city at dusk. The many bascule bridges spanning the Chicago River are seen below. The text “CHICAGO” and “FLY TWA” appear at top, in bold yellow block letters and red outlined block letters, respectively. The poster, an offset color lithograph, was published in circa 1964. 

In the 1950s and ’60s, Trans World Airlines (TWA) was one of the world’s premier passenger carriers. In 1929, rather than delivering mail like many carriers at that time, Transcontinental Air Transport (the precursor to TWA) decided to break into the passenger market by offering cross-country flight service. With celebrated international pilot Charles Lindbergh acting as Chairman of the Technical Committee and, later, millionaire Howard Hughes owning the majority share of TWA, the airline gained celebrity status.

Echoing the glitzy TWA reputation were the airline’s advertising posters, which captured the allure of travel with colorful and exquisitely designed scenes. The posters were explicitly created to inspire dreams of adventure in both foreign and domestic locals. Seen throughout airports, railway stations, travel agencies, airline ticket offices, hotels, and on billboards in large cities, the posters were a significant driver of airline ticket sales. 

Austin Briggs (1908-1973) was a cartoonist and illustrator. Briggs grew up in Detroit, before moving to New York City as a teenager. After working for a while at an advertising agency, he became an assistant to the cartoonist Alex Raymond on Flash Gordon and succeeded him on Secret Agent Corrigan. In 1940, he drew a Flash Gordon daily strip which he stayed on until about 1944; he moved onto creating illustrations for books and magazines such as Readers Digest and The Saturday Evening Post. Briggs was a founding faculty member for the Famous Artists School and in was elected to the Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame in 1969.


Poster is in very good condition. Paper is healthy and color is original and still vibrant. No tears or fold lines present. Publishers copyright at bottom right reads: "Litho in U.S.A 1052". Poster is signed in stone by artist at bottom right. 

Poster is archivally presented in a custom-built black and gold frame. Framed dimensions: 41 1/2" H x 26 7/8" W x 1 7/8"D. 

Related Items