Poster, 'Australia For Sun and Surf', colour lithograph on paper, designed by Gert Sellheim, printed by Troedel & Cooper Pty Ltd, commissioned by Australian National Travel Association (ANTA), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1931
The 'Australia For Sun and Surf' poster was designed by Gert Sellheim in 1931 for the Australian National Travel Association (ANTA, estab 1929). Sellheim was one of the earliest designers to be commissioned by ANTA to produce designs for Australian travel posters, posters which were displayed locally as well as in London and San Francisco in the early 1930s.
A particularly outstanding example of early Australian graphic design, the poster uses photomontage and carefully constructed typographical elements against simply constructed back and foregrounds to convey its message. Graphically, Sellheim successfully manages to associate the sun, surf, leisure and vast open space with Australia.
In the process of designing graphics and posters, Sellheim simultaneously evolved a strong body of visual symbols which went on to become enduring images associated with Australian national identity, the most renowned of these being his distinctive flying kangaroo logo created for Qantas in 1947.
The poster, 'Australia/for Sun and Surf' illustrates a strikingly modernist composition, incorporating a photograph of a female in the surf as a unique and appealing aspect of Australian culture and identity. It features a strong horizontal as well as diagonal composition, with the title 'AUSTRALIA/FOR SUN AND SURF' stylishly incorporated above and below the poster's central illustration. The designer's signature 'SELLHEIM' features prominently in the main body of the poster at lower left.
Born in Estonia of German parents, Gert Sellheim (1901-1970) studied architecture at universities in Germany before travelling to London before migrating to Western Australia in 1926. He set up an architecture and design practice in Melbourne in 1930, and moved to Sydney in 1947. A significant selection of his work was exhibited in the 'Exhibition of Aboriginal Art and its Application' organised by the Australian Museum, Sydney in 1941. His design for an 'Aboriginal Art' stamp was released in Australia in 1948.
Designed by Gert Sellheim (1901-1970).
Sellheim was born in Estonia of German parents in 1901. He studied architectureat universities in Berlin, Munich and Gratz before travelling to London. He then migrated to Australia and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1926.After his qualifications were recognized, Sellheim began work as a sitearchitect at the University of Western Australia where he probably sighted George Benson's Aboriginal motifs painted on the ceiling beams of Winthrop Hall (completed in 1932).
He moved to Melbourne in 1930 where he set up his own architectural practice and began designing and exhibiting posters. In 1939, Sellheim was awarded the Sulman Prize by the Art Gallery of New South Wales for Government Tourist Bureau mural in Melbourne. By 1939 he had made a study of Aboriginal art and was regarded as an authority in this field according to the architect, Frederick Romberg. A significant selection of Sellheim's work was exhibitied in the Exhibition of Aboriginal Art and its Application organized by the Australian Museum in 1941. Other artists and designers included in this exhibition were Margaret Preston, Douglas Annand, Olive Nock, Francis Burke and Grace Seccombe. In the 1940s, Sellheim was also correspondence teacher for Poster Design at the Arts Training Institute, Melbourne.
He moved from Melbourne to Sydney in 1947 and established Gert Sellheim Design. For many years he designed the semi-official commemorative publications for Oswald Zeigler (eg 150 years in Australia in 1938) incorporating photomontage and decorative elements derived from Aboriginal art. He won stamp design competitions in 1946 and 1948 ('Aboriginal Art' stamp released in 1948 - MAAS collection) and in the 1940s and 1950s created letterheads, posters, souvenir menus and magazine cover designs for Qantas. Most significantly of all, Sellheim designed the distinctive flying kangaroo for Qantas in 1947, still in use in a slightly modified form more than 50 years after it was originally designed. Sellheim died in 1970.
Printed by Troedel & Cooper Pty Ltd, commissioned by Australian National Travel Association, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1931
Designed by Gert Sellheim, printed by Troedel & Cooper Pty Ltd, commissioned by Australian National Travel Association, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1931.
Vendor has developed his collection of Australian posters over many years purchasing through auction, private vendors, international dealers etc. This poster was included in the Josef Lebovic Gallery 'Travel & Advertising Posters' exhibition of August-October 2000