Douglas A-20 Boston

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Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Gift of Robert M. Gaynor Copyright 1943 The Coca-Cola Company

Medium

Poster, Advertising

Dimensions

2-D - Unframed (H x W): 33 x 38.1cm (13 x 15 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America

Date

1943

Physical Description

  • DOUGLAS A-20 'BOSTON' U.S. ARMY — ATTACK BOMBER. Multicolor illustrated print advertising Coca-Cola. One of a series, depicting two A-20's in flight through a blue-green sky with clouds. Image within a gold and white border. Red, circular Coca-Cola logo and illustration of two glass Coca-Cola bottles on a silver tray bridges the border and the illustration at bottom left. Artist signature reproduced at bottom right. Within white border at bottom right, full text in a small black sans-serif font:
  • "DOUGLAS A-20 'BOSTON'
  • U.S. ARMY — ATTACK BOMBER
  • Speed over 320 miles per hour. Equipped
  • with fixed and flexible 50 calibre machine
  • guns. Carries a 2000 pound bomb load."

Type

ART-Posters, Original Art Quality

Inventory Number

A19772838001

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