"Meeting of the Chiefs" Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Poster, 1949

Presented is a vintage poster, titled “Meeting of the Chiefs.” This poster was designed in 1949 by Hernando Gonzalo Villa for the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. The poster depicts a Native American chief on horseback, raising his spear to the passing train, drawn so as to align the Santa Fe railroad with a romanticized version of America's old west. The Santa Fe Southern Railway named several of their train models "Chief," including the San Francisco Chief, Texan Chief, Kansas City Chief, and Super Chief.  The poster highlights the majestic and expansive Southwestern scenery now accessible via the Santa Fe’s sleek train cars. The Santa Fe Southern Railway logo , a blue encircled cross, is also prominently displayed. 

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.”

Hernando Gonzallo Villa (1881-1952) an artist active in Los Angeles in the early part of the 20th century. In 1905 Villa graduated from Los Angeles’ first local art academy, Los Angeles School of Art and Design, where he studied with its founder, Louise Elizabeth Garden MacLeod. In 1906 he began his career as a commercial artist and a forty-year association with the Santa Fe Railroad. He also worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and illustrated West Coast magazines, such as Town Talk. He was best known for the image of “The Chief,” an important emblem for the Santa Fe Railroad. Villa also painted murals and his decorations for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco won him a gold medal. He specialized in paintings depicting early Californian, Native American, and Southwestern themes. He exhibited extensively in Los Angeles and in the mid-1930s showed paintings at the Academy of Western Painters.


Very good condition overall. A beautiful color lithograph, with color still vibrant. Paper is very healthy, with minimal toning and only one small tear in the lower margin, since stabilized. No apparent marks. The title, “Meeting Of The Chiefs,”is printed along the bottom left margin. “Copyright 1949, The Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company” is printed along the bottom right margin. Image size is 18" H x 24" W.

Poster is artfully framed to archival standards, with acid-free backing, a dark gray top mat, UV glass, and a custom-built black wooden frame. Framed Dimensions: 23" H x 29" W x 1 1/4" D.

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