This is a vintage Grand Canyon travel poster for the Santa Fe Southern Railway, issued in 1949. The poster promotes railroad travel to the national park. A very collectible poster, the composition shows a couple in the foreground, dwarfed by the expansive grandeur of the park. Layers upon layers of terracotta, ochre, and rusty orange rock formations stretch toward the horizon of clear blue sky, creating a sense of awe-inspiring depth and vastness. The Santa Fe Southern Railway logo, a blue encircled cross, is also prominently displayed at bottom right. The poster was designed by Oscar M. Bryn.
Along with the stunning image of the layered bands of red rock that make the park so famous, the poster further boasts “Santa Fe is the Only Railroad Entering this National Park.” Back in 1949, the Santa Fe Railway held exclusive access to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim via its rail line, making it the sole gateway for train travelers. This exclusivity resonated with potential visitors, promising a direct and hassle-free journey to the heart of the canyon’s majesty.
The Santa Fe Railway was founded in 1859. The company helped settle the midwest in the later part of the 19th Century by selling real estate and farm land sanctioned by Congress. The Santa-Fe Railway became the second transcontinental railway to exist. It also expanded rail travel further than any other line, with north-to-south routes in California. Santa Fe had a robust freight business and extended its transportation reach with a bussing system.
The Santa Fe Railway were strong advertisers, and produced many destination-driven posters to hang at airports, rail stations, billboards in large cities, and travel agencies. In 1945, the company was featured in a song titled, "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" sung by actress Judy Garland for the film "The Harvey Girls.”
Oscar M. Bryn grew up in California and studied at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute. He started his career as an illustrator for the San Francisco Chronicle, while working freelance for other California newspaper art departments as well. In 1913, Bryn moved to Los Angeles as a poster artist for the Santa Fe Railway. He continued working for the Santa Fe after moving to their headquarters in Chicago in 1915. While there he also worked for Marshall Field and for many years was art director for Erwin Wasey Company. Byrn worked for Santa Fe for 37 years, until his retirement in 1950. He also worked for Marshall Field and for many years was art director for Erwin Wasey Company.
Good condition, considering age and past use. Previous over-painting to margins and edges of image. Tears in margins and image, since repaired. Color is still vibrant and very attractive. Unframed Dimensions: 24" H x 18" W
Poster is artfully presented in a custom black wooden frame with UV Plexiglass. Framed Dimensions: 25 1/2" H x 19 1/2" W x 3/4" D.